Are Chronic Disease Indicators Associated with Living Close to Treatment, Waste, & Disposal Sites (Landfills) in Southeastern United States?

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Antwi, Benjamin
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Middle Tennessee State University
This study investigated the associations between residential proximity to landfill sites and the prevalence of chronic diseases in the Southeastern United States. Utilizing a cross-sectional design, data from 624 landfills and 23,256 census tracts were analyzed. Chronic disease indicators included asthma, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and mental health, sourced from the CDC's PLACES Project and adjusted for poverty, age, rurality, race, health insurance, and state. Spatial analysis techniques identified exposure proportions within 0.5, 1, 3, and 5-mile buffer zones of landfills. Results from the adjusted Generalized Linear Models revealed significant associations at 0.5 miles for diabetes (OR=6.72, p=.018), high blood pressure (OR=3.08), and asthma (OR=2.37, p=.003). Proximity to older landfills (pre-1990) and higher-volume landfills (>500 tons daily) demonstrated differential impacts on health outcomes. Findings suggest that closer residential proximity to landfills, particularly high-volume and older sites, is associated with increased prevalence of certain chronic diseases, emphasizing the need for mindful waste management and policy implications for health equity.
Chronic Diseases Risk, Environmental Justice, Environmental-Burden, Landfills, Proximity to Waste Site, Social-Vulnerability, Epidemiology, Environmental health, Public health