Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Linda Day


There are a large number of chemical facilities that emit toxic chemicals in Michigan, and there is a concern regarding toxic chemical exposure to the residents of Michigan counties. However, it is uncertain whether chemical companies that emit toxic chemicals in Michigan are influenced by county demographic factors in deciding whether to engage in voluntary pollution prevention (P2) activities and whether this decision influences U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (U.S. EPA) Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) scores. Using Bullard's theory of environmental justice, the purpose of this quantitative study was to determine if there was a correlation between chemical-related industry's voluntary P2 participation, U.S. EPA's RSEI scores for chemical-related facilities, and demographic factors in Michigan counties between 2007 through 2011. A cross-sectional design using hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to study potential environmental inequality in 20 Michigan counties. Publically available data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. EPA included demographic data, voluntary P2 participation data, and RSEI scores for 20 counties in Michigan. A statistically insignificant correlation was found between voluntary P2 participation and median annual RSEI scores of Michigan industry; while a statistically significant, inverse correlation was found between median annual RSEI scores and educational attainment. The results from this study can be used by policy makers to promote more effective voluntary P2 policy and to create county-specific public education programs promoting toxic chemical awareness that will lead to positive social change in Michigan.