Raise your hand if you believe racial minorities are more likely to live in areas closer to industrial pollution and to work in business sectors with higher exposure to pollution. I think I see a few hands out there. 

Studies repeatedly show long-term air pollution exposure can increase a person’s chances of developing cardiovascular, metabolic, or pulmonary diseases. Researchers have shown that air pollution can worsen respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, reproductive issues, nervous system dysfunction, and the development of cancer.

“Historically, air pollution has been linked with worse health outcomes, including higher mortality, due to other respiratory viruses, such as influenza. Now, new research on COVID-19 adds further evidence of the adverse effects of ambient air pollution and the urgent need to address the public health crisis of pollution.”

Dr. Stephen Andrew Mein, a physician in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) Department of Medicine in Boston, MA

There’s all kinds of research that have outlined the evidence connecting air pollution and worse COVID-19 outcomes. In the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, they argue that stricter air pollution standards and taking action to end the disproportionate amount of air pollution in marginalized neighborhoods are needed.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have explored what possible link exists betwe en air pollution and risks associated with COVID-19. Two types of air pollution — particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide — promote the creation of an enzyme that SARS-CoV-2 targets and uses for viral entry. This could account for the association between air pollution and worse COVID-19 outcomes.

COVID-19 is a “wake-up call,” making clear the need for significantly stricter air pollution standards and an end to the tolerance of worse air pollution in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The state government, however, has responded by claiming that a cause and effect relationship has not been determined, and consequently the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) continues to grant permits for hazardous waste facilities in Chester.

Government will bring to certain cities an air polluting waste facility, write permits for them to operate, and tell you they’re one of your friends in industry. Government will not take them away, no matter how harmful they turn out to be. Only when enough people get angry enough to organize a movement to stop pollution in their community will it ever have a chance to go away.

#FactnotFiction #BantheBurn