Sustainability and Social Justice

Document Type



Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) produce large amounts of animal waste, which potentially pollutes air, soil and water and affects human health if not appropriately managed. This study uses meteorological and CAFO data and applies an air pollution dispersion model (CALPUFF) to estimate ammonia concentrations at locations downwind of HOG CAFOs and to evaluate the disproportionate exposure of children, elderly, whites and minorities to the pollutant. Ammonia is one of the gases emitted by swine CAFOs and could affect human health. Local indicator of spatial autocorrelation (LISA) analysis uses census block demographic data to identify hot spots where both ammonia concentrations and the number of exposed vulnerable population are high. We limit our analysis to one watershed in North Carolina and compare environmental justice issues between 2000 and 2010. Our results show that the average ammonia concentrations in hot spots for 2000 and 2010 were 2.5-3-Times higher than the average concentration in the entire watershed. The number of people living in the areas where ammonia concentrations exceeded the minimal risk level was 3647 people in 2000 and 3360 people in 2010. We recommend using air pollution dispersion models in future environmental justice studies to assess the impacts of the CAFOs and to address concerns regarding the health and quality of life of vulnerable populations.

Publication Title

ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information

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ammonia, CAFO, CALPUFF, environmental justice, exposure to air pollutants, HOG industry

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Sociology Commons



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