Environmental Inequality In The United States

3504 words - 15 pages

Environmental Inequality in the United States
Minority and poor populations have been experiencing an unequal amount of exposure to various environmental hazards. The goal of this paper is investigate the situation at hand and provide an explanation to whether this treatment is ethical. Thus, in this paper, I will not only attempt to analyze reasons why these populations experience more pollution than other populations and the types of pollution that they experience, but I will also explore the solutions provided by other researchers on how to solve environmental inequalities.
Previous research has been carried out to detect why most, if not all, of the polluting industries, ...view middle of the document...

Therefore it is known as the community that handles “40 percent of the entire city’s commercial waste, a sewage treatment plant, a sewage sludge pelletizing plant, four power plants, the world’s largest food distribution center, and other industries which bring in more than 55,000 diesel trucks to the area each week” (Carter 48). Another example is Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is a community that is populated by people of color and immigrants and it is also the community that hosts the highest density of the most toxic industries in the U.S., such as nuclear industries, electronics industries, and computer components industries (Pellow and Park).
Types of Pollution
There are multiple variables that caused the current situation of environmental inequality in the U.S., but before I discuss these variables I must explain the types of pollution that the minority and poor communities experience. According to Pellow, a professor of environmental studies, communities that suffer from industrial facilities also suffer from air, water, and land pollution. Ultimately, these three contaminations cause minority and poor populations to become victims of health problems. For instance, African Americans are twice as likely as a white person to live in an area where air pollution poses the greatest risk to their health (Carter). Furthermore, African Americans are five times more likely to live within walking distance of a power plant or chemical facility (Carter). Polluted industrial facilities create the hostile conditions that lead to problems like obesity, diabetes, asthma, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
One might not expect that pollution can lead to obesity, diabetes, asthma, and cancer. However, a person that lives near a polluting industry would not likely have the desire to leave their home to go for a brisk walk or run to inhale toxic substances. Consequently, diabetes is linked to obesity. According to James Loewen, an American sociologist, historian, and author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, rich babies are healthier and weigh more than poor babies. “Poor babies are more likely to have high levels of poisonous lead in their environments and their bodies” (Loewen 207). Furthermore, exposure to air pollution is one of the factors that leads to asthma (Massey). For example, 25 percent of South Bronx children are diagnosed with asthma symptoms, which is seven times higher than the national average (Carter). Other research shows that besides being exposed to air pollution, low income and minority families experience higher rates of asthma than white families due to their inadequate access to health care to treat the disorder (Massey). Consistent medical attention is required in order to control a patient’s asthma. Because these minority groups are only treated for asthma when they have an acute attack, African American children between the age of 10 and 14 are six times more likely to die of asthma than white children (Massey). Lastly, many...

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