Environmental racism is alive and well in America and is a threat to the health and safety of Black communities across the nation. For generations, communities of color have been plagued by inadequate access to safe water, heightened exposure to air pollution, the harsh effects of climate change and increased cases of lead poisoning. It is time that all Americans, the public, private and community organizations, join together to ensure a better, healthier future for the generations to come.
Click here to learn about ways you can stand up for communities of color and correct this injustice.
Access to Safe Water
Clean water is a fundamental human right; however, many Black communities are exposed to waste-contaminated drinking and flood waters. Industrial facilities, mega-landfills and hazardous waste sites are frequently built in communities of color, leading to greater cases of water contamination for the surrounding area.
In recent years, the EPA confirmed that race, not poverty, is the strongest predictor of exposure to health-threatening pollution. Sadly, this burden is felt greatest by people of color, most notably Black communities.
Black Americans are two times more likely to live without potable water and modern sanitation.
More than half of those who live within 1.86 miles of toxic waste facilities in the United States are people of color. These facilities bring in trucks day in and day out, jeopardizing the air quality for residents.
Small pollution particles known as PM2.5 are especially harmful and are responsible for more than 100,000 deaths each year from pollution-related heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer & more.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 80 percent of all homes built before 1978 in the country have lead-based paint in them. With low-income communities largely made up of older homes, these residents are more likely to be exposed to harmful chemicals. It is an unfortunate reality that Black communities often fall into this category.
Black children living below the U.S. federal poverty level are 4 times more likely to have elevated levels of lead in their blood than poor white or Hispanic children.
Black children living in homes built between 1950-1977 are 6 times more likely to have higher levels of lead in their blood than white children living in buildings of that same era.