Huge Gap in Pollution Exposure by Race Surprises U of M Researchers

Ibrahim Hirsi, Minn Post, April 16, 2014

By now you probably know that people of color nationwide have, among other things, higher rates of unemployment, poverty and educational disparity compared to white people.

Here is one more fact to add to the list: People of color are also exposed to nearly 40 percent more polluted air than whites, according to a University of Minnesota study released Tuesday.

The study looks at the differences in pollution exposure by race, income, education and other categories throughout the country, said Julian Marshall, the study’s lead researcher and a civil-engineering associate professor at the University of Minnesota.

“The main ones are race and income, and they both matter,” Marshall said in an interview. “In our findings, however, race matters more than income.”

The study, “National patterns in environmental injustice and inequality: Outdoor NO2 air pollution in the United States,” found that people of color are exposed to 38 percent more outdoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which comes from vehicle exhaust and power plants, than whites.


To Marshall, some of the reasons that race “really matters” in the study is that when he looked at the exposure gap between high-income Hispanic and low-income white groups, nitrogen dioxide concentrations were higher among high-income Hispanics.


The study found that the health implications of the exposure gaps between nonwhites and whites are alarming.

For instance, the study states:

Breathing NO2 is linked to asthma symptoms and heart disease. The researchers studied NO2 levels in urban areas across the country and compared specific areas within the cities based on populations defined in the U.S. Census as “nonwhite” or “white.”

The health impacts from the difference in levels between whites and nonwhites found in the study are substantial. For example, researchers estimate that if nonwhites breathed the lower NO2 levels experienced by whites, it would prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease alone among nonwhites each year.

The Environmental Protection Agency has added NO2 to its main list of air pollutants to monitor. {snip}



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  • D.B. Cooper

    Judging how badly you white people up there have become a bunch of limp wristed wimps up there, I suspect all of you have been inhaling too much pollution up there.

  • MekongDelta69

    More babblings and excuses about and for “peoples of colors.”

    As opposed to whom? “Peoples of non-colors”?

    Jes’ axin’

  • Yawn. Blacks live in industrialized, congested inner cities and thus breathe more polluted air than whites. Well, they can get up off their fat welfare butts and earn the money to move somewhere less polluted. The purpose of this study is to justify $$$ for blacks.

  • BonV.Vant

    Good, that will be the end of liberalism.

  • jim b

    Aren’t they already doing that? I thought they were looking for “too white” neighborhoods throughout the country and forcing them to put up low income housing. The nearby Town of Hamburg has been running commercials on the radio announcing their Section 8 apartments. I know quite a few folks from that town who are pretty peeved about this.

  • Blacks are free to stop driving their gas-guzzling cars and take public transportation if they want cleaner air.

  • Strike_Team

    They didn’t miss location. They chose to ignore it. Anything in order to somehow, some way, make it look as if white racism is the answer to anything negative that befalls blacks, indios, and mestizos.

  • kjh64

    Why do “people of color” have higher rates of unemployment, educational disparity and poverty? It couldn’t be that they have more kids they can’t afford and do so out of wedlock, especially at a young age, it couldn’t be that they drop out of school at much higher rates, it couldn’t be that they are more likely to have criminal records? No, it is the fault of mean, evil racist

  • So CAL Snowman

    It’s so cute when non – Whites like Ibrahim Hirsi try to talk about science. Check out the raw data in the cited study and you will see that Hirsi is completely full of crap.

  • 2eRep

    “People of color are also exposed to nearly 40 percent more polluted air than whites”, I don’t see the down side.

  • William Allingham

    although theres no more wasteful system than capitalism, nevertheless whites stand out for being more careful and efficient (including in hygiene)

    all this reminds me of the myth of the noble savage, many people promote the idea of native americans in harmony with the stars and spiritual unity with nature when in fact aztec cities were dirty, unsafe and stank (according to reports the stink inside the “sacred” precincts was insufferable) much like a modern day market in mexico city, they also drove to extinction many species of animals before ever crossing their minds to domesticate any of them. btw Soap was invented by the Celts so dont expect indians to have had something similar..

    It was only in Europe during the middle ages that laws protecting forests and limiting the exploitation of resources emerged, for instance some authorities enforced the plantation of trees etc, so this study is like a contemporary proof that less intelligent people are more wasteful and dirty, it was only with the monstrous capacity of production of modern day that goods grew proportionally with waste but it does not reflect individual (or should i say racial?) perceptions of efficiency and cleanliness, in fact, only whites seem to be deeply concerned with organic and renewable stuff (mostly in Europe, specially Germany) so only whites are rebelling against pollution: non whites are all too conformist and

    in fewer words, if someone disbelieved Spanish reports about dirty natives they can only watch their modern day descendants and get convinced,

    • “No more wasteful system than capitalism…”

      Socialism has capitalism beat by a mile in that respect. Industrial pollution in Eastern Europe was completely hideous, and it’s still very bad in China.

      • IstvanIN

        Eastern Europe was still communist when its pollution was at it worst and China has what might be best described as a combination of state-capitalism and an extreme form of laissez faire capitalism. Capitalism with some state oversight to avoid the most egregious abuses is probably best.

    • Jesse_from_Sweden

      The reason for deforestation laws and enforced plantations of trees was very simple and logical.
      Trees were being used for shipbuilding, as well as for buildings and heating.
      And they were simply running out.
      Large ship-building programs during the latter middle ages / early rennaissance led to entire areas being deforested which kinda got noticed when shipbuilders started getting a bit anxious about running out of trees of sufficient size and type to make masts and keels.

      And Capitalism isn’t wasteful, quite the contrary.
      Being wasteful means you are losing out on profits, either current or future ones. Capitalism is very concerned about resource management, because otherwise any long-term investments may become useless. And capitalist doesn’t really like to gain short-term profits in exchange for long-term losses.
      That only happens when someone (the state) sets the rules so that someone else takes the losses instead (socialism) or where long-term is too risky (third world countries where change of government may mean loss of entire investment due to war/nationalization etc.

      It only seems like capitalism is wasteful and polluting due to a certain stage in civilisational progress is wasteful and polluting, and the western world was the ruling one in that stage and era and capitalism is so deeply linked with the western world in most peoples perception.

      But as others have said, take a look at communist countries that have gone through the same stage of development and you’ll see some real pollution and wastefulness.
      Most “non-capitalist” nations are third world nations where there isn’t much pollution due to there not being any industry that can pollute.

      And germans are morons, who are cutting back on clean nuclear energy in favor of dirty coal plants and russian gas (oh, and neat little wind plants that aren’t giving nearly enough).

      The german industry, highly energy-dependant, is going to suffer for it.

      • This is a pity, because the Germans actually tested a pebble-bed reactor (Wikipedia has a neat article on those) and they literally could not make it melt down, even deliberately.

        • Jesse_from_Sweden

          Most industrialized countries can only satisfy their power needs with lots and lots of coal burning unless they use nuclear power.

          A precious few have natural energy reserves they can use, like Iceland with thermal vents and Sweden with huge hydropower dams.

          But other than that, wind and solar energy simply isn’t efficient enough, neither in cost or land requirement.

          And there are a lot of new technology in the field of nuclear energy.
          Most states are still using Generation II reactors, while Gen III are readily available (safer and more efficient) and Gen IV is on the way.

          In addition to that we have molten-salt reactors being developed which are immune to meltdowns (requires constant energy being applied, giving an excess out, meaning if it breaks down, the energy being applied stops and the reactor stops) as well as various types of reactors using fuel other than U-235.

          One of those being reactors that use Thorium instead, another is a reactor that can use U-238 (which makes up 99+% of all naturally occuring uranium, that which normally gets called Depleted Uranium after removal of most U-235, U-233 and U-236).

          And also, people are way way too terrified of nuclear energy and radiation compared to what it actually does.
          The number of people killed worldwide in nuclear accidents (intentional use of nuclear weapons doesn’t count, they aren’t accidents after all but works precisely as intended) is by most people believed to be way higher than they really are.

          There have been three major incidents with nuclear powerplants.
          Harrisburg in USA, which led to 0 dead. Fukushima in Japan, which lead to no dead through radiation but a few from the actual explosion caused by a major earthquake.
          And then Chernobyl, where the number of dead has been greatly exaggerated due to measuring how many of the “cleaners” had died after five years, without mentioning that it was from all causes and most of them were military personnell and that this was during the Soviet-Afghanistan conflict which probably explains at least some of the dead.

          Oh and also, radiation from nuclear fallout tends to give Thyroid cancer rather than anything else.
          Which is one of the least dangerous types of cancer and has something along the lines of 99% full recovery rate if diagnosed in time (which it tends to be when there has been a radiation incident, due to mandatory screenings etc).

          Ironically, animals in the Chernobyl exclusion zone is healthier than in most other places, due to a lack of other human activity and pollution.

      • William Allingham

        “The reason for deforestation laws and enforced plantations of trees was very simple and logical”

        yes, but that something is logical and simple doesn’t mean anybody would follow it, its still a merit for European people to have done that (despite of similar circumstances im not aware of other people doing the same thing so early in time, although it wouldnt surprise me if Chinese did)

        ok im not in favor of either socialism neither capitalism but what i see is that the people in charge who could reduce pollution (and who produce the most) are doing too little, of what use it is that common folk decide to recycle and use green energy when authorities (in association with the rich) are not making the infrastructure which allows these efforts to be worthy? for example I could separate the trash but the person who picks it up could toss it all together and nobody would know, but in order for people to comply it should be possible and easy and that requires some thinking.

        in Europe its badly seen to use disposable things without reason and to throw garbage in the streets, they at least are waking up and give signals of discomfort with the situation, other people (in the third world) just blindly follow the destructive path and they are all too accustomed to let problems grow till the end, they might be in an earlier state but seem willing to take worse decisions.

        come to mexico and trow an empty bottle at midday in the avenue and nobody would even notice, in all supermarkets you have the pressure to use disposable bags to carry your shopping (workers get restless if you bring your own), im sure that in not so long they will be as polluted as the most industrialized countries but with unskilled populations like that, there wont be so easy to solve it

  • Pro_Whitey

    Oh, the poor dears, we just have to get them out of the U.S.A. for their own good!

  • They not only live and choose to continue to live in urban areas, but they moved there on purpose during World War Two – leaving the clean rural south – precisely because those polluting heavy manufacturing industries offered good employment.

    Blacks make up some 10% of the population of Denver, but in spite of the military bases they’re only 6% of Colorado Springs. Denver gets nasty winter temperature inversions that keep smog close to ground level, but we don’t. Since the two cities’ respective downtowns are only 70 miles apart, I think it is safe to say that blacks stay in Denver because they like it there.

  • 1stworlder

    They forgot to factor in showering differences.

  • JackKrak

    It seems to me that, if you look carefully, Minnesota has replaced Berkeley as the center of Leftist stupidity in America.

  • James Bro

    Shortest book: “Blacks I’ve met exploring the great outdoors”.

  • Fr. John+

    O, we could ship them all back to the pastoral paradises they CAME FROM, and solve the problem that way! Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  • Jacqonta Green

    I’ve noticed that there is inequality in the pollution I breathe in and that of other races. Must be my raciss lungs.