In America, your race affects everything from your job to your commute to your brush-ups with the police. Why should it be any different with the amount of nasty air pollution you inhale?
Of course it isn’t different, as shown by an eye-opening new study from the University of Minnesota. By overlaying Census data with a recent map of air pollution, the researchers discovered that in most places in the country, lower-income non-white people breathe more airborne foulness than higher-income whites. On average, non-white people inhale 38 percent higher levels of air pollution than whites, they say. If non-white people were brought down to the levels of pollution enjoyed by whites, it would prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease in their communities each year.
Income also plays a role in pollution exposure, but not as much as you might think. “Both race and income matter, but race matters more than income,” says Julian Marshall, a professor of environmental engineering at the University of Minnesota. “And that’s a really important point, because when you start talking about differences by race people say, ‘Oh, that’s just income.'”
The discrepancy is so great that even high-earning non-whites are sucking in relatively larger quantities of pollution. ….