Use of segregation indices, townsend index, and air toxics data to assess lifetime cancer risk disparities in metropolitan Charleston, South Carolina, USA


Background: Studies have demonstrated a relationship between segregation and level of education, occupational opportunities, and risk behaviors, yet a paucity of research has elucidated the association between racial residential segregation, socioeconomic deprivation, and lifetime cancer risk. Objectives: We examined estimated lifetime cancer risk from air toxics by racial composition, segregation, and deprivation in census tracts in Metropolitan Charleston. Methods: Segregation indices were used to measure the distribution of groups of people from different races within neighborhoods. The Townsend Index was used to measure economic deprivation in the study area. Poisson multivariate regressions were applied to assess the association of lifetime cancer risk with segregation indices and Townsend Index along with several sociodemographic measures. Results: Lifetime cancer risk from all pollution sources was 28 persons/million for half of the census tracts in Metropolitan Charleston. Isolation Index and Townsend Index both showed significant correlation with lifetime cancer risk from different sources. This significance still holds after adjusting for other sociodemographic measures in a Poisson regression, and these two indices have stronger effect on lifetime cancer risk compared to the effects of sociodemographic measures. Conclusions: We found that material deprivation, measured by the Townsend Index and segregation measured by the Isolation index, introduced high impact on lifetime cancer risk by air toxics at the census tract level. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Publication Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health