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Environmental Justice and Environmental Health – Northern Manhattan & Beyond Grassroots Academy April 26, 2007 Anhthu Hoang, General Counsel West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT for Environmental Justice) WHAT IS AIR POLLUTION Definition

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Environmental justice and environmental health northern manhattan beyond l.jpg

Environmental Justice and Environmental Health – Northern Manhattan & Beyond

Grassroots AcademyApril 26, 2007

Anhthu Hoang, General Counsel

West Harlem Environmental Action

(WE ACT for Environmental Justice)


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WHAT IS AIR POLLUTION

Definition

Chemical, physical or biological agents that alter the

natural characteristics of the Earth’s atmosphere

Examples

Chemical: Polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

Physical: Particulate matter (PM), nuclear radiation

Biological: Pollen, mold, germ warfare


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SOURCES OF AIR POLLUTION

Human activities

Manufacturing, trade & warfare

Fuel & power production

Agricultural production & burning

Transportation

Household activities & waste disposal

Construction

Natural?

Volcanic eruptions, wildlife emissions, dust, wildfires, radiation


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ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH

IMPACTS OF AIR POLLUTION

Human Disease

Cancer

Cardiovascular disease

Respiratory disease

Neurological & developmental

Biological Environmental Impacts

Plant & wildlife disease

Genetic loss & species extinction

Physical Environmental Impacts

Global Warming & Climate change

Acid rain & urban heat island


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NORTHERN MANHATTAN

Demographics

  • 4 communities:

    East, Central, & West Harlem + Washington Hts

  • Over 600,000 people

    in 7.4 mi2

  • 44% African-American;

    44% Latino

  • Median household income: $14,896 (Central Harlem) $29,479 (Morningside Hts)


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Evidence of Disproportionate Exposures in the United States

  • United Church of Christ “Toxic Waste & Race” (1987)

    • 3 of 5 black and Hispanic Americanslive in communities with  1 unregulatedwaste site(s)

    • Race = single most important variableexplaining proximity to toxic waste site

    • Percentageof local population composed ofpeople of color directly correlatedwith number of commercial waste sites

  • 1994 Update

    • 1980-1993 percent people of color in all zip codes w/ toxic waste facilities increased from 25% to 31%


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Northern Manhattan

Sources of Pollution

  • Six of sevenManhattan bus depots

  • Municipal diesel garbage truck depots

  • North River Sewage Treatment Plant

  • Poor housing (roughly 70% housing units built before 1930)

  • N. Manhattan hosts major inter- city truck routes

  • * Except E. Harlem with 28.3%


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Lack of Positive Environmental Factors

  • Lowest per capita and per acre ratio of parks, open space, & grocery stores

  • Poor pedestrian safety discourages physical activity, resulting in dangerous sedentary lifestyles

  • Co-location of industrial land uses with housing creates incentive to stay indoors


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Impact on Environmental Health: Asthma

Health Disparities

  • Black children asthma 237% the rate of white children (2001)

  • People of color mortality rate 250% whites (2000)

  • East Harlem’s childhood morbidity rate is 300%citywide average and 600% national average

    Environmental links

  • Diesel, PM, ozone & other asthma triggers

  • Housing disrepair lead to pests & allergens


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Impact on Environmental Health: Childhood Lead Poisoning

  • National Childhood Lead Poisoning Rates

    • 64% children of color

    • 12% white

    • 36% unknown race

      (Centers for Disease Control, 2000)

  • In NYC, 90% of new cases involve children of color

    (NYC DOHMH, 2001)


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Impact on Overall Environmental Health

  • Poor Birth Outcomes

    • Low Birthweight

    • High Infant Mortality almost 2x city average

  • Poor Adult Health

    • % Women who are overweight > 2x state average

    • Diabetes almost 2x state average

    • Poor Cardiovascular Health

    • Mental health and emotional distress


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For More Information

Anhthu Hoang

WE ACT

271 W. 125th St.

Suite 308

New York, NY 10027

[email protected]

212-961-1000,

Ext. 311


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