Superfund Research Program

February 2023

Woman drinking glass of water(Photo courtesy of Cottonbro Studio from Pexels)

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) SRP Center adapted an existing environmental justice index to characterize toxic metals from North Carolina drinking water wells.

Their adaptation includes factors related to social disadvantage, including the combined effects of socioeconomic status and environmental exposures. It also includes a demographic index value based on census tract records, and an index representing environmental exposures, in this case toxic metals in well water.

Their environmental exposure estimates are based on their previously published NCWELL database, a compilation of more than 20 years of well water test results across North Carolina.

In the future, the researchers aim to further refine the index with updated census data and incorporate these data into the NC Enviroscan tool, which was developed by the UNC team to visualize key environmental and societal factors that can impact health.

Read more in the NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health newsletter.