Environmental justice, cumulative environmental risk, and health among low- and middle-income children in upstate New York

Am J Public Health. 2004 Nov;94(11):1942-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.11.1942.


Objectives: We documented inequitable, cumulative environmental risk exposure and health between predominantly White low-income and middle-income children residing in rural areas in upstate New York.

Methods: Cross-sectional data for 216 third- through fifth-grade children included overnight urinary neuroendocrine levels, noise levels, residential crowding (people/room), and housing quality.

Results: After control for income, maternal education, family structure, age, and gender, cumulative environmental risk exposure (0-3) (risk >1 SD above the mean for each singular risk factor [0, 1]) was substantially greater for low-income children. Cumulative environmental risk was positively correlated with elevated overnight epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol in the low-income sample but not in the middle-income sample.

Conclusions: Cumulative environmental risk exposure among low-income families may contribute to bad health, beginning in early childhood.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Crowding
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Noise / adverse effects
  • Population Density
  • Poverty
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Social Class*
  • Social Environment
  • Social Justice*
  • Urinalysis