The Distribution of Environmental Risks: Analytical Methods and French Data
The existence of environment-related health risks is now being acknowledged in France. According to estimates by the French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development, 30,000 premature deaths per year and 7% to 20% of cancers may be linked to environmental factors such as diffuse source pollution (motor vehicles, pesticides) and point source pollution (incinerators, landfills, industrial facilities). Social inequalities in exposure to environmental risks have been observed in many industrialized countries (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany). France is also directly concerned by this question: are we all equal in the face of pollution, or are the most disadvantaged populations also those with the highest exposure? This paper reviews the current state of methodological and analytical knowledge on the social distribution of environmental risks with a view to stimulating further research on this issue in France.