A new report shows Black Americans ages 65 and older are three times more likely to die from diseases related to pollution exposure than White Americans of the same age, reports NBC.
The analysis, released earlier this month by the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), suggests that current air pollution levels result in “significant premature mortality and morbidity nationwide,” but the health impacts are disproportionately felt by Black people, Hispanics and those living in poverty.
It offers comprehensive evidence of the consequences of environmental racism, using census data and previously published peer-reviewed research on the effects of air pollution in Medicare-reliant populations.
The report comes as national air quality standards are under review by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ananya Roy, a senior health scientist for EDF, said the report uncovered a “one-two-three punch” of “higher exposure, poorer health and greater vulnerability” among older communities of color, which leads to “disproportionate burdens amongst communities of color and low wealth.”
“The impacts of air pollution affect populations across all life stages, from childhood to the elderly,” Roy said.