Study: Pollution Caused By Whites Disproportionately Affects Blacks and Hispanics
The research finds "pollution inequity is driven by differences among racial–ethnic groups in both exposure and consumption."
Published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, a new study finds that blacks and Hispanics disproportionately breathe polluted air that’s been created by non-Hispanic whites.
The cause of more than 100,000 deaths per year, air pollution kills more Americans than car crashes and murders combined and is the largest environmental health risk in the United States.
And, though minorities contribute less to the air pollution problem, they are affected by it more, a development the researchers call pollution inequity.
According to the study, blacks are exposed to about 56 percent more pollution than is caused by their consumption. For Hispanics, that ratio is 63 percent. The researchers also found whites have a “pollution advantage” and breathe about 17 percent less air pollution than what they cause.
“We find that, in the United States, air pollution is disproportionately induced by the racial–ethnic majority and disproportionately inhaled by racial–ethnic minorities,” according to the report. “Our analysis shows for the first time how pollution inequity is driven by differences among racial–ethnic groups in both exposure and the consumption that leads to emissions.”
Texas Southern University public affairs professor Robert Bullard, who is sometimes called the father of environmental justice, agreed with the findings.
“These findings confirm what most grassroots environmental justice leaders have known for decades, ‘whites are dumping their pollution on poor people and people of color,’” he told USA Today.
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