Study: Air Pollution Disproportionately Impacts Communities of Color

The negative effects of poor air quality occur at higher rates in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, according to new research.

1 minute read

March 7, 2024, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Hazy view of Interstate 5 freeway in Los Angeles, California.

trekandphoto / Adobe Stock

A new study from George Washington University sheds light on the disproportionate impact of air pollution on communities of color. According to one researcher, “Redlining and systemic racism have resulted in the least white areas of the US being located near factories, congested roadways or shipping routes with heavily polluted air.”

The study found that “Racial and ethnic disparities in the health impacts associated with nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter widened during the last decade,” and communities of color experienced 7.5 times higher rates of pediatric asthma than white communities. “The study found the estimated monetary value attributed to mortality risk for premature death due to particulate matter as well as the direct costs of pediatric asthma due to nitrogen dioxide in 2019 amounted to $466 billion or roughly 2.2% of the US gross domestic product.”

Wednesday, March 6, 2024 in George Washington University

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