Is Your Neighborhood Toxic?

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Do you live in a toxic neighborhood? See the results of the study below, and find out…

If you’ve ever bought a home, you’ve probably heard the old adage, “Location, location, location,” but one thing many home buyers may not be thinking about is whether their new home is located in a toxic neighborhood.

A recent study by real estate research firm RealtyTrac revealed the most polluted neighborhoods in America, based on a number of factors including air quality, major polluters, lingering hazardous chemicals, and other man-made environmental hazards.

While this topic may not have gotten much press just yet, you can expect to see property values in polluted areas decline, as more people become aware of the health hazards of environmental pollution. This is already happening in areas like Flint, MI, and Los Angeles, CA, where major pollution events have made headlines, and have even led to home evacuations by some residents.

Here is more on the study, including a list of the most toxic neighborhoods in America:

Southern California may have beautiful beaches and sunsets, but looks can be deceiving.

The California real estate market comprising the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim area is the most polluted housing market in the U.S., with 321 ZIP Codes, or 99% of the market, recording high or very high levels of exposure to unhealthy air, polluted land or water plus, as if that weren’t enough, dangerous drug labs, according to the real estate research firm RealtyTrac.

The Irvine, Calif.–based firm analyzed man-made-hazard data from both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Drug Enforcement Agency in more than 7,700 ZIP Codes accounting for air quality (defined as days without significant carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants in the air), EPA-identified “Superfund” cleanup sites, number of polluters, “brownfields” and former drug labs, to determine which real estate markets have the most toxins.

Air quality, Superfund sites — places deemed hazardous enough to warrant a cleanup operation led by the EPA — and polluters each accounted for 25% of the index. Brownfields — those more than 500,000 properties in the U.S. that have lingering hazardous materials, such as abandoned gas stations or factories — and former drug labs each accounted for 12.5% of the total index.


The real estate market comprising Chicago, Naperville and Elgin, Ill., came in second in the RealtyTrac analysis, with 280, or 93% of ZIP Codes, in the market having high exposure to toxins and pollutants. The third most toxic real estate market was the Detroit, Dearborn and Warren markets in Michigan, with 94%, or 162 ZIP Codes, of the market with high or very high levels of environmental risk.

Overall, the top 12 metro areas with the highest percentage of ZIP Codes at high risk for man-made environmental hazards were Riverside–San Bernardino in Southern California; Akron, Ohio; Cleveland; Stockton, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; Reading, Pa.; Toledo, Ohio; El Paso, Texas; Los Angeles; Kansas City, Mo.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Bakersfield, Calif.

About 25 million U.S. homes are in ZIP Codes at high risk or very high risk for man-made environmental hazards, RealtyTrac said — representing 38% of the 64 million homes in the 7,700 ZIP Codes analyzed….

Read more on the study at MarketWatch.com


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