“Urban neighborhoods that were redlined by federal officials in the 1930s tended to have higher levels of harmful air pollution eight decades later, a new study has found, adding to a body of evidence that reveals how racist policies in the past have contributed to inequalities across the United States today.
In the wake of the Great Depression, when the federal government graded neighborhoods in hundreds of cities for real estate investment, Black and immigrant areas were typically outlined in red on maps to denote risky places to lend. Racial discrimination in housing was outlawed in 1968. But the redlining maps entrenched discriminatory practices whose effects reverberate nearly a century later.”
“. . . With less green space and more paved surfaces to absorb and radiate heat, historically redlined neighborhoods are 5 degrees hotter in summer, on average, than other areas. A 2019 study of eight California cities found that residents of redlined neighborhoods were twice as likely to visit emergency rooms for asthma.
The latest study, which was published on Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, looked at neighborhoods in 202 cities and their exposure to two pollutants that are harmful to human health: nitrogen dioxide, a gas associated with vehicle exhaust, industrial facilities and other sources; and the dangerous microscopic particles known as PM 2.5. The study was funded in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.”
“As the United States comes to grips with the climate crisis, fossil fuels will slowly recede from being primary sources of energy. That’s the good news. But the bad news is that the petrochemical industry is counting on greatly increasing the production of plastics and toxic chemicals made from fossil fuels to profit from its reserves of oil and gas.
That transition is why the challenges of climate, plastic pollution and chemical toxicity — which at first might each seem like distinct problems — are actually interrelated and require a systems approach to resolve. The danger is that if we focus on only a single metric, like greenhouse gas emissions, we may unintentionally encourage the shift from fuel to plastics and chemicals that are also unsafe and unsustainable.
Already, according to a 2018 report from the International Energy Agency, petrochemicals, which are made from petroleum and natural gas, “are rapidly becoming the largest driver of global oil demand.”
Petrochemicals are ubiquitous in everyday products, and many of them are poisoning us and our children. Stain repellents, flame retardants, phthalates and other toxics are contributing to cancer, falling sperm counts, obesity and a host of neurological, reproductive and immune problems, research has shown.”
This is 10/10. My last NYT piece I can share this month in its entirety. It is appropriate, because the increases in the production of plastic pose a serious threat to life as we love it. A lot of the cancer and other diseases that we have, or will have, are related the poisonous pollution we put in our environments, and then goes into our bodies.