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Massachusetts Department of Public Health seal Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking

Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice (EJ) is based on the principle that all people have the right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean, healthy environment. Various forms of discrimination and racism have created long-standing health inequities for people of color and lower-income individuals. These populations have historically been excluded from meaningful participation in decisions that impact their communities’ environmental health. People of color and people with limited incomes are more likely to live near toxic waste sites, in areas with high air pollution, and in low-quality housing because of the inequitable distribution of high pollution sites. Structural inequities result in fewer healthcare providers, limited access to transportation options, and limited access to health information in the community due to inaccessible health communications and lack of access for non-English speakers.

MA DPH Environmental Justice Tool

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) established a statewide Environmental Justice Policy in 2002 to help address the disproportionate environmental burdens experienced by individuals of color and lower-income people. The MA DPH EJ Tool is intended to facilitate the use of the EOEEA EJ Policy, to enhance inclusive community planning for environmental assessment, and to inform a wide range of activities such as siting, permitting, Brownfields clean-up, Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act review, grant applications, transportation projects, and community, health, or climate-related impact assessments.

The Tool has 3 distinct components:

  1. Introduction: Review important content related to environmental justice, including EJ Criteria and Vulnerable Health EJ Criteria definitions, and background information on Vulnerable Health data indicators 
  2. EJ Data and Reports: Criteria data visualizations for cities and towns across Massachusetts
    • Identify cities/towns that contain EJ neighborhoods and find city/town EJ criteria summary data
    • Identify cities/towns that meet Vulnerable Health EJ criteria and find city/town health outcome rates
    • Click a city/town name in any table to view a detailed city/town report
    • Access data in static maps, charts, tables, and csv download
  3. Custom Mapping: Dynamically map EJ data with other information using advanced features.
    • Search and zoom to an address
    • Zoom and pan in the map
    • Add layers (e.g. points of interest, infrastructure, social indicators)
    • Adjust map transparency and display
    • Export an image or pdf of the map
Image showing fetures of the custom map.

How are you using the Tool?

We are interested in hearing how you are using the MA DPH Environmental Justice Tool. If you are a student, researcher, community group, government agency, or another organization who has used our tool, please let us know. We are always looking to share new and exciting Success Stories!

Questions?

Email: DPH-MA-EPHT@state.ma.us
Phone:  1-617-624-5757

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