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Environmental health justice across the globe
  1. Arnita Gadson1,2,
  2. Rochelle H Holm2
  1. 1 West Jefferson County Community Task Force, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  2. 2 Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute, School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rochelle H Holm, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, USA; rochelle.holm{at}

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Disenfranchised and disadvantaged communities face challenges across the globe. These communities are more likely to be poor and minority, disproportionately exposed to harmful environmental pollutants and require equal access to healthcare. The environmental justice (EJ) movement aims to improve and maintain a clean and healthy environment by ensuring healthy air, water and soil. Two unlikely areas for comparison are Louisville, Kentucky, in North America and Blantyre, Malawi, in Africa, two worlds apart with different, yet similar, environmental issues.

The EJ movement was primarily initiated by another North American community in Warren County, North Carolina. A small, predominately poor, rural community of African-American residents was chosen to locate a hazardous waste landfill, accepting Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated soil. The residents protested and ignited the EJ movement in the USA in the 1980s. Executive Order 12898, issued by President Bill Clinton in 1994, provided a formalised platform providing credence to the EJ movement.1

Louisville is a typical mid-western city with a population of approximately 780 000 and a Black and African-American population of 23%. …

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  • Contributors Conceptualisation: AG and RHH; Methodology: AG and RHH; Writing-original draft preparation: RHH; Writing-review and editing: AG and RHH; Supervision: RHH; Project administration: RHH. All authors read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, as well as grants from the James Graham Brown Foundation, the Owsley Brown II Family Foundation, and a Jon Rieger Seed Grant.

  • Disclaimer The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.