Poor and minority communities in the United States tend to be exposed to greater air pollution, including soot, because they often live closer to highways or industrial facilities. A 2019 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that on average, communities of color in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic breathe 66 percent more air pollution from vehicles than white residents.
The Trump administration opted Tuesday not to set stricter national air quality standards, despite a growing body of scientific evidence linking air pollution to lethal outcomes from respiratory diseases such as covid-19.
Citing the national emergency sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, the EPA has stopped policing pollution from factories and power plants for an indefinite period.
There’s “good evidence” communities of color are exposed to more soot pollution, the effects of which are compounded by factors including poverty and a lack of access to health care. You add air pollution to these underlying vulnerabilities, and you have greater exposure. It’s no accident that we see greater covid-19 deaths in African American communities
Soot comes from smokestacks, vehicles, industrial operations, incinerators and burning wood. The current standards limit annual concentrations to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air and daily concentrations to 35 per cubic meter. These fine particles enter the lungs and bloodstream, causing inflammation that can lead to asthma, heart attacks and other illnesses.
…there’s “good evidence” communities of color are exposed to more soot pollution, the effects of which are compounded by factors including poverty and a lack of access to health care.
…researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded that even a small increase in long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution causes a large increase in the risk of dying of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“If you’re breathing polluted air and your lungs are inflamed by the disease, you’re going to get very, very sick,” a senior author of the study
“Now is not the time to be rolling back environmental regulations,”
The virus isn’t just lethal but an exposer of painful truth: America was tainted by gross inequality, racism, and reckless disregard for our environment long before the pandemic.