Injustice occurs in many ways and involves not only cases of injustice and racism we witness through the media, such as police brutality and racism in workplaces. Unfortunately, race can also play a role in exposure to environmental dangers and land use within a community. According to the Center for American Progress, environmental racism and failing infrastructure have impacted communities of color for decades.
Causes of Environmental Racism
Causes for environmental racism can be the availability of affordable land, lack of political power to fight corporations, and poverty, among others. Corporations, as well as the government, look for cheap land to establish hazardous waste sites or for the dumping of toxic materials or for establishing industrial facilities using toxic chemicals.
Therefore, low-income communities are generally disproportionately affected by environmental hazards of many different kinds.
Minority communities may not be able to efficiently oppose any proposed controversial development and environmental dangers, as they may lack the resources and political power to do so. This can have tragic health consequences for entire communities.
Examples of Environmental Racism
Environmental racism can impact minority communities in many different ways. Some examples of racial inequality due to exposure to environmental hazards are:
According to the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), water contamination disproportionately affects low-income communities of color. Some minority communities lack piped water completely and have to rely on wells or shared water systems that may supply them with contaminated water. Contaminated water can be detrimental to a community’s health, causing illnesses from waterborne diseases to cancer, as well as others.
Higher Rates of Air Pollution
According to a study published by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the white participants in the study generally had the lowest exposure to airborne particulate matter. Hispanic participants suffered from the highest rates of pollution, followed by African Americans participants. High air pollution contributes to many diseases, as well as deaths from lung cancer, respiratory infections, stroke, pulmonary disease, and others, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Children of color are more likely to suffer from lead poisoning. The blood levels of lead in non-Hispanic black children are almost double than those found in white children, according to the Public Health Post. Lead poisoning can cause many health conditions and medical problems, including anemia, weakness, kidney damage, and brain damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Extremely high lead exposure can cause death.
Exposure to Hazardous Waste and Industrial Facilities
According to the Center for Effective Government, more blacks, Latinos, and people in poverty live close to industrial facilities with toxic chemicals. Communities close to hazardous facilities are likely to suffer the greatest impact when an explosion or leak of toxic substances occurs. People of color are effectively living closer to “ticking time bombs” such as toxic waste processing plants and industrial facilities than other population groups.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of how inequality impacts the exposure of a community to environmental hazards. There can be many other instances. Even natural disasters such as hurricanes, and issues surrounding climate change, can affect minority communities disproportionately.
You have the right to live and raise your children in a non-toxic environment. There are many laws and regulations that apply to environmental hazards and aim to protect citizens. An environmental justice lawyer can help you explore your legal options and how you could potentially hold a company or the government accountable for environmental racism and exposure of toxic substances in your local neighborhood.
Environmental Racism Is Not a New Phenomenon
Unfortunately, environmental racism has a decades-long history. This long-lasting legacy of inequality makes it even more important that we help minority communities by bringing these issues to the attention of lawmakers and politicians.
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s attempted to address the issues of environmental racism by focusing on the public health dangers to communities of color, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Sixty years later, much work remains to protect minorities and those living in poverty from suffering the effects of environmental injustice and environmental racism.
The communities suffering from this unacceptable injustice need to speak out and search for help and legal representation to fight these dangers to their health and well-being.
Environmental racism is wrong and does not only negatively impact life quality and enjoyment but is also responsible for causing premature deaths in communities where people of color live.
Contact Us Today for Help
Many different issues can cause environmental racism. We want to help you fight environmental injustice, whether it impacts you individually, your family, or your community. We can represent you when it comes to issues such as clean water, toxic waste, hazardous industries, and many others that have a negative impact on your loved ones and your entire community.
Standing up to powerful companies or local governments can feel intimidating. You may not know where to start in your search for justice and equality. We can help you stand up for your rights to clean water and a clean environment. We are not afraid to tackle tough cases or fight international companies.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC today to learn more at (800) 959-1444.