Population Health

September 1, 2021

New research finds air pollution hits people of color the hardest

Image of air pollution behind power linesA national research effort on air pollution reveals that people of color are disproportionately and systemically exposed to air pollution in the United States.

Researchers from the University of Washington contributed to this study, creating an air quality model to analyze peoples’ exposure to air pollution based on race/ethnicity and income levels, utilizing data from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Their findings reveal that racial-ethnic minorities are disproportionately exposed to high levels of fine particulate air pollution compared to white people. Overwhelmingly, people of color experience greater-than-average exposures to air pollution across geographic and all income levels.

These findings add to the growing body of research highlighting the persistence of environmental inequity and beckon further research on the intersecting factors that influence air pollution-exposure disparities.

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