Air Pollution in Developing Nations

How the world’s poorer countries breathe worse air, in charts and maps, By Max Bearak, October 3, 2016, Washington Post: “On Sunday, India ratified its accession to the Paris climate accords on the 147th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. President Obama congratulated India in a tweet, saying that ‘Gandhiji believed in a world worthy of our children. In joining the Paris Agreement, @narendramodi & the Indian people carry on that legacy,’ using a Hindi honorific for the man who championed Indian self-rule and stewardship of its land. The Paris agreement is the international community’s biggest push yet to limit carbon emissions and other forms of pollution.  Unfortunately, if worthiness is measured by being able to live in a world where the air one breathes does not spread disease and blacken one’s lungs, then we are far from it…”

Environmental Hazards and Poor Minority Communities

  • Low-income, minority areas seen as lead poisoning hot spots, By Matt Rocheleau, April 11, 2016, Boston Globe: “Thousands of Massachusetts children are found to have potentially harmful levels of lead in their blood each year, with cases tending to be concentrated in communities with more low-income and minority residents, state officials say.  The Central Massachusetts town of Warren had the highest rate of lead poisoning, with excessive levels found in 7.1 percent of children tested. The next highest rate was 6.7 percent in the neighboring town of Ware…”
  • Threat of environmental injustice extends beyond Flint water crisis, By Ted Roelofs, April 15, 2016, MLive.com: “About a year ago Grand Rapids resident Myichelle Mays, 25, picked up her young son, De’Mari, now 4, from a sitter, and immediately knew something was wrong. De’Mari, who had been diagnosed with asthma just before his first birthday, ‘was gasping for air,’ she recalled. ‘He couldn’t breathe. You could hold him and hear the wheezing. I freaked out.’ Mays rushed the boy to the hospital, the latest of five or six trips to the emergency room since he was infant. Now it is a fear she lives with each day. ‘It’s stressful, not knowing what is going to happen.’  It was a frightening episode, but one familiar to thousands of low-income minority families in Michigan. And it might be one more reason to view Flint’s water crisis as merely the latest chapter in a long narrative in which impoverished residents of color are more likely to bear the brunt of environmental hazards…”

Environmental Hazards and Poor Minority Communities

Beyond Flint: Poor blacks, Latinos endure oversized burden of America’s industrial waste and hazards, By Aaron Morrison, January 25, 2016, International Business Times: “Elizer Lee Cruz will occasionally look out at English Station — the shuttered and corroding coal power plant sitting on an eight-acre island in the middle of Mill River — and marvel at its architecture. From Fair Haven, a neighborhood just east of the river comprising largely minority and working-poor people, Cruz and his neighbors can see the tops of four of the facility’s smokestacks that stopped billowing in 1992. ‘The way the bricks are laid — little blocks of cement with a circle and a lightning bolt — it was a power plant that was built to the glory of God,’ he says, describing what he can see from the riverbanks. But that awe is fleeting for Cruz, an environmental activist who last year fought a plan that would have reopened the plant…”

Scientific American Series: Pollution, Poverty and People of Color

Scientific American Special Report: Pollution, Poverty, and People of Color:

  • Living with Industry, By Jane Kay and Cheryl Katz (Environmental Health News), June 4, 2012, Scientific American: “From the house where he was born, Henry Clark can stand in his back yard and see plumes pouring out of one of the biggest oil refineries in the United States. As a child, he was fascinated by the factory on the hill, all lit up at night like the hellish twin of a fairy tale city. In the morning, he’d go out to play and find the leaves on the trees burned to a crisp…”
  • Children at Risk, By Lindsey Konkel  (Environmental Health News), June 6, 2012, Scientific American: “When doctors told Wanda Ford her 2-year-old son had lead poisoning, she never suspected that the backyard in her low-income neighborhood was the likely culprit. Ford knew that exposure to the heavy metal could be dangerous. So when she and her husband moved into the Lower Lincoln Street neighborhood, Ford, then pregnant, took steps to make sure their 100-year-old home was lead-free. ‘We never thought to test the soil – my son played in the backyard all the time,’ said Ford, whose son is now seven…”
  • Don’t Drink the Water, By Liza Gross (Environmental Health News), June 12, 2012, Scientific American: “Jessica Sanchez sits on the edge of her seat in her mother’s kitchen, hands resting on her bulging belly. Eight months pregnant, she’s excited about the imminent birth of her son. But she’s scared too. A few feet away, her mother, Bertha Dias, scrubs potatoes with water she bought from a vending machine. She won’t use the tap water because it’s contaminated with nitrates…”
  • A Michigan Tribe Battles a Global Corporation, By Brian Bienkowski  (Environmental Health News), June 12, 2012, Scientific American: “Head in any direction on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and you will reach gushing rivers, placid ponds and lakes – both Great and small. An abundant resource, this water has nourished a small Native American community for hundreds of years. So 10 years ago, when an international mining company arrived near the shores of Lake Superior to burrow a mile under the Earth and pull metals out of ore, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa had to stand for its rights and its water…”
  • Falling into the Climate Gap, By Doug Struck  (Environmental Health News), June 19, 2012, Scientific American: “The Shore Plaza East apartments have a stunning skyline view of downtown Boston across the harbor: Waves lap at the foot of the eight-story building; sailboats carve foam trails in the water. These could be million-dollar condos. But, buffeted by winds and the threat of storm-water flooding, these apartments are subsidized housing, reserved for the poor…”
  • Asthma and the Inner City, By Crystal Gammon  (Environmental Health News), June 20, 2012, Scientific American: “On a clear spring day, the four-year-olds laughed as they ran out on the playground at the start of morning recess. Within minutes, one boy stopped, a terrified look on his face. Brenda Crisp and her staff immediately realized what was happening: Asthma attack…”

Air Quality and Health in Low-Income Neighborhoods

Air-quality regulators to study health effects of San Bernardino Rail Yard, By Phil Willon, June 9, 2011, Los Angeles Times: “Southern California air-quality regulators are sponsoring an in-depth study to determine if the San Bernardino Rail Yard, a major inland hub of goods shipped across the U.S., has caused an increase in cancer and asthma in the neighboring low-income communities.  The study comes two years after the California Air Resources Board determined that diesel emissions from locomotives, big-rigs and other equipment at the facility posed a significant health risk to thousands of residents living near the site, and that the facility posed the greatest cancer risk of any rail yard in California…”