Report finds that minority and lower-income communities are exposed to majority of the pollution coming from waste-burning plants.
The Guardian reports on the harmful chemicals that are polluting the air around mostly minority and low income neighborhoods.
The burning of household and commercial waste can give off a stew of pollutants, including mercury, lead and small particles of soot. This pollution isn’t evenly distributed, however. Of the 73 incinerators across the US, 79% are located within three miles of low-income and minority neighbourhoods, according to research by the Tishman Environment and Design Center at New York City’s New School.
In total, 4.4 million people live within three miles of an incinerator in the US. Of this total, 1.6 million live close to the top 12 incinerators measured in terms of pollutant emissions across mercury, lead, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide.
These pollutants are linked to a range of health problems, including asthma and heart disease. US incinerators typically abide by rules set on the amount of allowable emissions. But researchers said that even incinerators operating within their permits are adding to public health problems that heavily burden black, Hispanic and poorer communities.