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Latino Daily News

Thursday March 24, 2011

66 Percent of U.S. Latinos Living in Poor Air Quality Areas Throughout the Country

66 Percent of U.S. Latinos Living in Poor Air Quality Areas Throughout the Country

Photo: Latinos live in most polluted cities

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Today the Center for American Progress released a new issue brief, “Why the EPA Is Important for Latino Families,” by Jorge Madrid and Valeri Vasquez. The brief details how conservative politicians’ efforts to attack, defund, and even abolish the Environmental Protection Agency would risk the health of many Americans, in particular Latinos. According to the report, Latinos will be disproportionately impacted by cuts to the EPA because they tend to live or work near high-polluting areas and have a higher risk of contracting respiratory diseases.

According to the authors, among other things:

• 66 percent of U.S. Latinos—25.6 million people—live in areas that do not meet the federal government’s safe air quality standards.
• Seven out of the 25 worst-polluted U.S. cities have Latino populations of more than 40 percent.
• The average Latino population in the 10 worst-polluted U.S. cities is 33 percent.
• The vast majority—nearly 88 percent—of our nation’s farm workers are Latino, and these employees and their families are regularly exposed to harmful pesticides in both the air and water.

“Latinos’ problems are magnified by funding cuts to the EPA, since they already live in urban environments where higher levels of air pollution occurs, and are generally underinsured, so they feel the cost of air pollution financially,” said Adrianna Quintero from the Natural Resources Defense Council.