Comet Calendar

GIS Colloquium Series 2021–2022

Friday, October 15, 2021 11am to 12pm

Virtual Event

Featuring Amanda Kreuze
Visiting Assistant Professor in the Geospatial Information Sciences Program at UT Dallas

October 15, 2021 (11:00am – 12:00pm)
on Microsoft Teams

The Toxic Truth: Environmental Justice and Environmental Health of Mothers and Children in Michigan

The Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) model estimates toxicity-weighted concentrations based on human health risks from modeled exposures to Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) chemicals. Numerous studies have reported on the inequitable distribution of TRI sites and elevated pollutant exposures among minority and low-income populations, which may contribute to health disparities. Population groups who are most susceptible to the untoward effects of pollutants are pregnant women and infants, with minority and poorer women at the greatest risk. The goal of this research is to investigate maternal and infant health outcomes associated with TRI chemical exposures in Michigan from 2008-2017 from an environmental justice perspective using an ecosyndemic theoretical approach. The research objectives are: 1) To outline the ecosyndemic theoretical approach as a holistic lens by which to conceptualize maternal exposures to multiple toxic chemicals and how the social determinants of health moderate these effects; 2) To investigate the spatial and temporal patterns and clusters of RSEI toxicity-weighted concentrations and the degree to which these human health risks are more elevated in minority and low-income communities; 3) Estimate the impact(s) of maternal exposure to RSEI toxicity-weighted concentrations on adverse birth outcomes, including lethal congenital anomalies, controlling for potential maternal level confounding variables. U.S. Census data and vital statistics infant birth and linked infant death records were analyzed using geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial epidemiological methods including cluster techniques. The study found that African Americans and Hispanics were more likely to live in census tracts with the highest RSEI toxicity-weighted concentrations demonstrating environmental injustice. Mothers exposed to the highest RSEI quartiles were at higher odds of low birth weight and preterm birth controlling for other known risk factors. A substantial number of clusters of lethal congenital defects were detected in Michigan over time that requires further investigation.

About the Speaker
Amanda Kreuze is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Geospatial Information Sciences Program at UTD. She has a background in geography and environmental policy. Amanda Kreuze is a health geographer whose research focuses on the nexus between human and environmental health and how it pertains to social justice. She is particularly interested in maternal-child health.

Virtual Event


UTD strives to create inclusive and accessible events in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you require an accommodation to fully participate in this event, please contact the event coordinator (listed above) at least 10 business days prior to the event. If you have any additional questions, please email and the AccessAbility Resource Center at

  • Ethan Taylor
  • Kevin Patterson
  • Sanjana Kabad

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