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HAF helps communities to integrate “green thinking” into their homes, workplaces, and local environments. Poverty and other factors marginalize Hispanics in this country, and as a result, Hispanics are disproportionately affected by changes in energy costs, rising food prices and other impacts of climate change.
Hispanics’ quality of life is being negatively affected by pollution. Poor air quality is disproportionately harming Hispanics.
According the American Lung Association, Hispanic-American children have a higher rate of asthma than Caucasian children. In the Northeastern United States, Hispanics have an asthma death rate more than twice the rate of Caucasians.
HAF’s beneficiaries from around the country have called in to express their interest around the following environmental issues:
- clean water
- reducing waste/ proper waste disposal
- cleaner transportation options
- green construction
- energy savings
- healthy food production and consumption
- and green jobs that grow out of the demand for all of the above.
HAF increases Hispanics’ access to information, natural resources, environmental benefits, participation in decision making, and access to justice in cases of environmental injustices.
The results are in a study of 249 children of New York City women who wore backpack air monitors for 48 hours during the last few months of pregnancy. They lived in mostly low-income neighborhoods in northern Manhattan and the South Bronx. They had varying levels of exposure to typical kinds of urban air pollution, mostly from car, bus and truck exhaust.
At age 5, before starting school, the children were given IQ tests. Those exposed to the most pollution before birth scored on average four to five points lower than children with less exposure.
That’s a big enough difference that it could affect children’s performance in school, said Frederica Perera, the study’s lead author and director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health.
It suggests that you don’t have to live right next door to a belching factory to face pollution health risks, and that there may be more dangers from typical urban air pollution than previously thought, he said.
“We are learning more and more about low-dose exposure and how things we take for granted may not be a free ride,” he said.
While future research is needed to confirm the new results, the findings suggest exposure to air pollution before birth could have the same harmful effects on the developing brain as exposure to lead, said Patrick Breysse, an environmental health specialist at Johns Hopkins’ school of public health.
And along with other environmental harms and disadvantages low-income children are exposed to, it could help explain why they often do worse academically than children from wealthier families, Breysse said.
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“It’s a profound observation,” he said. “This paper is going to open a lot of eyes.”
The study was released in the August edition of Pediatrics.
Author: Lindsay Tanner
Source: Associated Press