As I mentioned yesterday, I’m studying Food Deserts for my current Environmental Studies subject. Even the preliminary research is bringing to light huge disparities in food access and population health, based on race, socioeconomic status and gender. Reading other articles recently has inspired me to write a short series on the connections between race, class and environmental health. If anyone has any suggestions for things they would like me to write about, please let me know in the comments.
One of the articles that sparked my interest in writing about this was this one in Time magazine online, on ‘The Racial Politics of Asthma.’ The statistics quoted in the article are alarming:
“African American children have a:
• 260% higher emergency room visit rate.
• 250% higher hospitalization rate.
• 500% higher death rate from asthma, as compared with white children.”
Further, if other statistics from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America are considered, the picture becomes even more alarming. For example, ‘ It is estimated that 80 percent of Hispanics live in areas that failed to meet one U.S. EPA air quality standard, compared to 65 percent of African Americans and 57 percent of Whites’ (AAFA, date not specified).
And, as the article notes, researchers are now making the explicit connection between air pollution and asthma.
We might not be able to switch to renewables rigth here and now…but really? How on earth are we ever going to see change with numbers like that? And, until that change comes about, racial minorities and low socioeconomic groups will continue to be subject to an incredible social injustice.