11 Facts About Environmental Racism

barrel buried in a wasteland
  1. Environmental racism is the geographic relationship between environmental degradation and low-income or minority communities.
  2. The people populating areas within 2 miles of our nation’s hazardous waste facilities are by majority of color.
  3. Racial disparities of color exist in 9 out of 10 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regions.
  4. Existing laws and land-use controls have not been adequately applied in order to reduce health risks for those living in or near toxic "hot spots".
  5. African Americans are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of causing the greatest health dangers.
  6. A Commission for Racial Justice study found that three of the five largest waste facilities dealing with hazardous materials in the United States are located in poor black communities.This study also showed that three out of every five African American and Latinos live in areas near toxic waste sites, as well as live in areas where the levels of poverty are well above the national average.
  7. Poverty-stricken Native American communities face some of the worst toxic pollution problems in the country.
  8. “Approximately half of all Native Americans live in communities with an uncontrolled toxic waste site," according to the Commission for Racial Justice.
  9. Living near toxic waste facilities and in low income housing affects almost every aspect of life including food, water, and air. Homes, schools, and workplaces are deemed unsafe because of environmental hazards in the buildings, which are dilapidated and outdated.
  10. Children of color who live in poor areas are more likely to attend schools filled with asbestos, live in homes with peeling lead paint, and play in parks that are contaminated.
  11. These same children are nearly 9 times more likely than economically advantaged children to be exposed to lead levels so high they can cause severe learning disabilities and neurological disorders. 96 percent of African American children who live in inner cities have unsafe amounts of lead in their blood.

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Sources: The Encyclopedia of Earth, Young People For, Toxic Wastes and Race 1987-2007