“Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards”

…is the subtitle of a damning report issued last week by the Center for Effective Government. The report (full title: "Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards") finds "compelling evidence that increasing social inequality is linked to environmental degradation and that the health of people of color and those living in poverty is negatively impacted by being exposed to higher levels of environmental pollution than whites or people not in poverty." More specifically, according to the report:

-"People of color living in poverty are significantly more likely to live in fenceline zones [i.e., a one-mile radius from one of the high-risk chemical facilities that report to the EPA's Risk Management Program ]than whites not living in poverty. The greatest disparities are among poor children of color. For example, poor black and Latino children are more than twice as likely to live in fenceline zones compared to white children who are living above the poverty line."

-"More than one-quarter (1.6 million) of children living in fenceline zones are children under the age of five, whose developing bodies are especially vulnerable to toxic exposure should a chemical release occur."

-"Facilities in communities of color have almost twice the rate of incidents compared to those in predominately white neighborhoods – one incident per six facilities compared to one incident per 11 facilities."

You can access the report, along with an interactive ESRI map showing you how close you are to a hazardous facility and how many more such facilities dot the landscape in communities of color than white communities, here.

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