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Power plant pollution higher in neighborhoods subject to racist redlining

December 20, 2022

In the US, it’s well-documented that poor neighborhoods are likely to suffer from higher pollution levels. Sources of pollution, like power plants and freeways, are more likely to be located in poor neighborhoods. The ensuing pollution adds to the economic burdens faced by these neighborhoods, with increased medical costs, productivity lost due to illness, and premature deaths.

Since minorities and immigrants tend to live in lower-income neighborhoods, this also adds to the racial disparities present in the US. Now, a group of public health researchers has found another factor that contributed to this disparity. The historic practice of “redlining,” or assigning high-risk scores to mortgages in minority neighborhoods, is also associated with higher power plant emissions, reinforcing the challenges minorities face in the US.

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