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People of color still exposed to more air pollution

September 14, 2017

    Professor Julian Marshall

Pollution exposure for minority groups is still a big problem, according to a new nationwide study conducted by a team of researchers led by CEE professor Julian Marshall

The study found that during a 10-year period, little progress was made in reducing disparities between whites and people of color when it comes to being exposed to harmful air pollution emitted by vehicles. The study focused specifically on outdoor concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, which is a transportation-related pollutant.

Although people of color were more consistently exposed to air pollution, the study did uncover that average exposure to nitrogen dioxide decreased across all races and income levels. The study estimates that up to 5,000 heart disease related deaths could have been prevented if people of color experienced the same nitrogen dioxide levels as whites in 2010. Read the full release by UW News.

The research was published in a paper in Environmental Health Perspectives.

In columns A and B, red identifies locations where NO2 concentrations were higher for nonwhites than whites; blue indicates that NO2 concentrations were higher for whites than nonwhites; and white means they were equal. In column C, red indicates that the absolute difference in NO2 concentration between nonwhites and whites increased over time; blue indicates that difference decreased over time; and white indicates no change.University of Washington

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UW News release