Description and Details

Researchers found that although PM2.5‑related health prob­lems have decreased in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., over the past 20 years, these prob­lems are uneven and inequitable across neigh­bor­hoods and sub­groups. Of the 51 neigh­bor­hoods stud­ied, the 10 with the high­est PM2.5‑related health risks had 10% low­er edu­ca­tion and employ­ment rates, 10% more peo­ple liv­ing in pover­ty, and $61,000 low­er medi­an house­hold income com­pared with their less at-risk coun­ter­parts. The 10 neigh­bor­hoods with the high­est PM2.5‑attributed mor­tal­i­ty had 54% more Black residents.

CEE sub­jects: Envi­ron­men­tal Engi­neer­ing, Earth Sys­tems, Envi­ron­men­tal Pol­i­cy and Sus­tain­able Infrastructure

Discussion Questions

  • Do you think it is unusu­al for dis­par­i­ties in health risks to exist along­side socioe­co­nom­ic inequities? Why not? 
  • Describe three ways that inequitable health risks result­ing from air qual­i­ty could fur­ther dis­ad­van­tage indi­vid­u­als in the high­est risk neighborhoods.