Environmental Justice and Health

Air Pollution Related Illnesses

Low income people of color that live in buildings with structural problems and are not energy literate are the most affected by issues of energy insecurity, respiratory illnesses from dirty fuel, astronomical energy bills, and getting sick due to cold temperatures within their home.

Particulate matter (PM 2.5) that results from incomplete combustion of the heating fuel is released in the air contributing to lung and heart illnesses in Northern Manhattan.



Mothers and Newborns Study in Northern Manhattan

The Mothers & Children Study in Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx has focused on a group of 725 African American and Latino pregnant women and their children, whose health is monitored from the child’s birth through adolescence. Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx are low-income neighborhoods that bear a disproportionate share of New York City’s pollution sources. They include diesel bus depots, major commercial roadways, and derelict public housing, which is often infested with pests. Unfortunately, these are conditions are all too common in other urban environments. These factors are examined: respiratory health, cognitive development, and level of cancer risk in children prenatally exposed to common urban air pollutants from fuel burning (e.g., vehicles, industry), environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), residential pesticides, cockroach and mouse allergens, phthalates and bisphenol A (chemicals commonly found in plastics), mold, mercury, and lead.

The study suggests that the fetus may be 10 fold more susceptible to DNA damage than the mother. In utero exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons may disproportionately increase carcinogenic risk. The study also found that these children were born with lower birth weights, and smaller head circumferences than what is considered average.

Genotoxicity is the programming of expression of DNA that is passed on and inherited. If there is damage to the expression you may have the wrong genes activated at the wrong time. This may lead to children who demonstrate developmental delays which may cause them to get poor grades in school, develop behavioral issues and not perform properly in society

Other air pollution related illnesses may include: asthma, cancer, and lung and heart disease.


One response to “Environmental Justice and Health

  1. Pingback: Local Weatherization Initiatives Cut Down Energy Costs and Promote Community Health | Energy Efficiency Initiatives in Multifamily Buildings in Northern Manhattan·

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