African Americans Exposed to More Polluted Air than Whites

new study has found that communities of color are more likely than whites to be exposed to pollution. This project was conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and published in the journal PLOS ONE. The researchers probed exposure to environmental pollutants stratified by income, education, education level, race and other factors but found race to be the domineering determining factor. Some key findings include:

  • African-Americans and other minorities inhaled 38% more nitrogen dioxide (toxic pollutant) than whites.
  • These disparities were attributed to minorities being more likely than whites to live close to power plants and inhale vehicle exhaust.
  • Individuals of lower income and education were also found to be more exposed to these toxic gases compared to their higher income and education counterparts.

The experimenter believe that these results will galvanize support to address environmental disparity in poor communities.

“Results given here provide strong US-wide evidence of ambient NO2 air pollution injustice and inequality, establish a national context for studies of individual metropolitan areas and regions, and enable comprehensive tracking over time. Hopefully results given here will usefully allow policy-makers to identify counties and urban areas with highest priority NO2 air pollution environmental justice and equality concerns.”

Adedotun Ogunbajo, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health