Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Human beings-Effect of environment on, Environmental justice, Poor-Health and hygiene, Pollution-Physiological effect, Social work with minorities, Environmental discrimination, Worker awareness of environmental justice, Environment, Pollution, Health, Public health, Race, Income


Research suggests that exposure to pollution can impact people's health, and that there are more chances for exposure in some urban low-income communities or communities of color. The purpose of the study is to explore whether social service oriented clinicians consider whether their clients are exposed to pollution, how large of a problem the believe pollution is for their clients, and what actions they and their clients have taken to protect against pollution. A second purpose is to assess whether clinicians view pollution as product of discrimination. A third purpose is to see if pollution is indeed higher in lower-income communities and communities of color than wealthier communities and white communities. Fifty-six clinicians serving urban low-income communities or communities of color filled out a brief survey. The location of clinicians' agencies were linked with local demographic information and local pollution levels. Most of the sample (41 people, 73.2%) believed their clients were exposed to pollution and half (30 people, 54.9%) believed pollution caused a health concern or made one worse. Most of the sample explained their clients' exposure as rooted class and about half explained it as rooted in race. Indeed, the most polluted areas were home to the lowest-income residents and had the highest proportion of people of color. High levels of pollution correlated with clinician report of clients' reproductive problems. Solutions and protections found by clinicians and clients are discussed.




v, 90 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 71-76)