numerous new facilities in accordance with regional needs and with local patterns of equity” (Morrell 1987, p. 118).
To mediate between those opposing views, some have argued for a market-driven distributive principle, whereby communities would voluntarily host waste facilities because of handsome incentive packages (Kunreuther et al. 1993). In contrast, it may be argued—using a “justice as fairness” concept (Rawls 1971) —that if the procedures for selecting a host area are open, inclusive, and scrupulously fair, their outcomes will by definition be fair. However, neither marketdriven nor process-driven approaches have as yet had widespread success in overcoming various concerns—particularly concerns about adverse health effects, about who will derive monetary and other benefits from the facility, and about who can consent on behalf of the affected area (or, if a public referendum is used, who should be able to vote, how large a majority is needed, and whether the referendum will be binding on elected officials).
When an incineration facility is placed in a disadvantaged community, concerns about fairness are likely to become more pressing. Minority groups, low-income groups, and urban dwellers probably suffer disproportionately from exposure to air pollutants (Berry 1977; Wernette and Nieves 1992). In addition, African-American children have the highest blood-lead concentrations among all groups, and blood-lead concentrations among Hispanics, urban dwellers, and low-income groups are higher than the national average (Montgomery and Carter-Pokras 1993; Schwartz and Levin 1992). Results of several studies indicate that hazardous-waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities are more likely to be located within or adjacent to low-income and minority-group communities (United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice 1987; Bullard 1990; Bryant and Mohai 1992; Goldman and Fitton 1994). Some researchers have disputed those findings, however (Anderton et al. 1994), by citing differences in study design that make it impossible to compare results and reach a conclusive answer. On the basis of a review of the available scientific literature and the information obtained from various site visits, IOM (1999) concluded that there are identifiable communities of concern that experience higher levels of exposure to environmental contaminants. In addition, such communities are less able to deal with these exposures as a result of limited knowledge and disenfranchisement from the political process. Moreover, factors directly related to their socioeconomic status, such as poor nutrition and stress, can make people in those communities more susceptible to the adverse health effects of environmental hazards and less able to manage them by obtaining adequate health care.
Often low-income communities and communities of color speculate that some sources of environmental degradation were placed in their communities