The Effect of Dioxin Contamination and Remediation on Property Values
Zwickle, Adam; Cox, Jeffrey G.; Zhuang, Jie; Hamm, Joseph A.; Upham, Brad L.; Chung, Minwoong; Cruz, Shannon; Dearing, James W.
Loss of property value is a major concern in communities faced with the toxic byproducts of industrial practices. Even after site remediation, stigma may persist and negatively affect market values of residential properties. To study the effects of contamination and of remediation on property values in Midland, Michigan, where dioxins have been released into the environment through the incineration of contaminated waste and the discharge of contaminated water for many years, records of assessed value were obtained for 229 homes within the same neighborhood for the previous 18 years. A multilevel, longitudinal analysis was conducted to determine if there was a relationship between level of dioxin and assessed value after controlling for housing characteristics. Remediated and un-remediated properties saw increases in value at a similar rate over time. However, a property's level of dioxin was found to have a small, significant, and negative relationship with assessed value, and this negative effect was present regardless if a home had been remediated or not. These results suggest that while environmental remediation may be effective at removing the contamination, its economic effects may persist for a longer period of time.