Natural Environment

Communities having safe and non-toxic water, soil, indoor and outdoor air is imperative to ensure a healthy natural environment residents breathe, drink, and live from. Living in a neighborhood with a polluted natural environment imposes a devastating health risk on residents that they cannot manage individually. Toxic waste sites and facilities that release toxic emissions are more likely to be sited in low-income neighborhoods.(2) Lower income communities that are predominantly non-white have higher rates of asthma, lead poisoning, and mortality. Low-income and minority populations are also more likely to live in areas where high lead exposure is likely, due either to soil contamination or to lead paint.(3) At schools ranked in the bottom fifth for air quality, the children were 92% minority.(1) For Native American communities, a history of broken treaties has not only subjected them to living in poor quality environmental conditions but has also allowed the pollution and destruction of significant cultural sites.

  1. Larsen BA, Pekmezi D, Marquez B, Benitez TJ, Marcus BH.
    Physical activity in Latinas: social and environmental influences. Womens Health Lond Engl. 2013;9(2). doi:10.2217/whe.13.9.
  2. Christian-Smith J, Gleick P, Cooley H, Allen L, Vanderwarker A, Berry. A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy. Accessed June 21, 2017.
  3. Massey R. Environmental Justice: Income, Race, and Health. Accessed June 21, 2017.