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People of Color in California Breathe the Most Heavily Polluted Air

People of Color in California Breathe the Most Heavily Polluted Air

Wednesday, June 11, 1997

View and Download the report here: People of Color in California Breathe the Most Heavily Polluted Air

Residents of communities of color in California will be among the prime beneficiaries of an embattled EPA proposal to cut toxic airborne particle pollution by half. An Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis of air pollution data from 161 locations across the state shows that residents of communities of color are nearly three times more likely to breathe dangerous levels of air pollution than Californians living in predominantly white communities (Figure 1).

Major polluters, under the guise of various front groups led by Citizens for Sound Economy, are waging a major misinformation campaign to undermine the EPA proposal (EWG 1997, Washington Post 1996). One strategy being employed is to target communities of color with a message that EPA’s proposed health standard will place undue financial burdens on black and minority small business owners. To the contrary, control strategies for particle pollution have been, and will continue to be directed at large industrial polluters and electric utilities who account for the vast majority of all deadly particle pollution. None of the top airborne particle polluters is a minority- owned small business.

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