Fossil Fuel Industry’s Heavy Impact on Latinx Communities

New Report Sheds Light on Fossil Fuel Industry’s Effect on Latinx Communities

High asthma, low insurance rates and close proximity to oil and gas facilities make for a dangerous combination.

The fossil fuel industry is harming the well-being of Latinx communities, according to a report the Clean Air Task Force released yesterday (September 27).

“What we found in the report is that, as a U.S. population segment, Latin[x]s are particularly threatened by airborne pollutants emitted by sources in the oil and gas industry,” said the study’s lead author, Lesley Fleischman, in an online statement. “This is true for both communities living next door to oil and gas operations, and for communities hundreds of miles away, because these pollutants can travel great distances. We need to address the sources of this pollution now, for the sake of all Americans threatened by these health risks.”

Major points include:

  • More than 1.81 million Latinxs live within a half mile of oil and gas facilities.
  • Nearly 1.78 million Latinx people live in counties that face dangerous cancer risk levels from oil and gas facilities emissions—levels above the EPA’s one-in-a-million level of concern.
  • Because of all this, plus increased ozone smog, 153,000 asthma attacks hit Latinx children every year. This results in missed school days: 112,000 every year.

The percentage of Latinxs without health insurance doesn’t help: 25.5 percent of people younger than 65, according to the CDC.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Hispanic Medical Association and Earthworks also helped author the report, titled “Latino Communities at Risk: The Impact of Air Pollution from the Oil and Gas Industry.” Its release came in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month, which ends on October 15.

Read the report in full here.

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