Thursday, February 02, 2023

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Abstract

Excerpted From: Lindsay M. Farbent, Addressing the Disproportionate Adverse Health Effects Among BIPOC Communities as a Result of Environmental Racism, 12 Barry University Environmental and Earth Law Journal 100 (Summer, 2022) (152 Footnotes) (Full Document)

 

NoPictureAvailable03Around one in three (31%) of Black Americans, compared to only 9% of their white counterparts, reported personally knowing someone who has died from COVID-19. Black folks are thirty percent more likely to die prematurely from heart disease and twice as likely to die of a stroke as white folks. Black folks, Indigenous folks, and People of Color are more likely to live in polluted areas than their white counterparts. Long-term exposure to pollution can increase your chances of developing respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.

Environmental Racism has contributed to disproportionate adverse health effects among Black folks, Indigenous folks, and People of Color (hereinafter “BIPOC”). This can be shown by examining: the impact of historical residential redlining as it relates to respiratory illnesses; the failure of environmental laws in protecting BIPOC communities; higher rates of trauma, stress, and stress-related illnesses among BIPOC communities; and, structural racism in health care.

This paper will first discuss existing scholarship and background on environmental racism. Next, this paper will discuss historical residential redlining and its lasting impact on BIPOC communities in the United States. After that, this paper reviews existing federal and state environmental laws and addresses the lack of protections for BIPOC communities. Next, this paper examines stress and trauma in BIPOC communities and the link between stress and trauma with the likelihood of developing diseases. The final section of this paper will discuss structural racism in health care, including access to and quality of care. This paper will conclude by briefly discussing possible solutions.

[. . .]

Environmental Racism has contributed to disproportionate adverse health effects among the BIPOC community. This can be shown by examining: the impact of historical residential redlining as it relates to respiratory illnesses; the failure of environmental laws in protecting BIPOC communities; higher rates of trauma, stress, and stress-related illnesses among BIPOC communities; and, structural racism in health care.

The COVID-19 crisis is hopefully, on its way out, but there will be future pandemics that disproportionately impact BIPOC communities unless large-scale change comes from our legislators, politicians, lawyers, and environmentalists. Moreover, Environmental advocates should continue to fight for environmental justice and reform that includes explicit protections for BIPOC communities.


Lindsay M. Farbent, Juris Doctor Candidate 2022, Roger Williams University School of Law.

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