ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS – The entire Pittsburgh region has problems with air pollution, but levels can vary widely between neighborhoods due to a variety of factors including industrial pollution sources, traffic patterns, and geography.
A study in the journal Environmental Health--by EOH's James Fabisiak and EPI/ACHD's LuAnn Brink with collaborators from Pitt, CMU, and the Allegheny County Health Department--found that the region's most polluted census tracts are often in poor and minority neighborhoods, while the census tracts with the cleanest air tend to be in wealthier and whiter neighborhoods. This results in a higher rate of air pollution-related deaths from coronary heart disease in poor and minority neighborhoods.
"Until you have actual numbers to hang your hat on, it's hard to understand the magnitude of this problem," James Fabisiak, a toxicologist at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and the study's lead author, told EHN. "We wanted to be able to start having a conversation about how many deaths from air pollution in these neighborhoods are too many."
In the study, Fabisiak and collaborators estimate that about 40 percent of air pollution-related coronary heart disease deaths in Allegheny County occur in environmental justice communities—even though such communities represent just 27 percent of the county's total population.
Environmental justice communities are defined by the state of Pennsylvania as any census tract where 20 percent or more individuals live in poverty, and/or 30 percent or more of the population is a racial minority.
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from Environmental injustice in Pittsburgh: Poor, minority neighborhoods see higher rates of deaths from air pollution by Kristina Marusic / Environmental Health News Jun 12, 2020