On July 28, 2007, the Chicago Tribune reported a story that happens every day but rarely makes the headlines:
“All communities are not created equal,” said Robert Bullard, director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, who has been documenting racial and environmental disparities for more than 20 years. “If a community is low-income and comprised mostly of people of color, it generally gets more than its fair share of those things that people don’t want.”
What brought the story to light in this case was the release of a new study by the University of Texas School of Public Health, which showed that children living within 2 miles of the heavily industrialized Houston Ship Channel have a 56 percent greater risk of contracting acute lymphocytic leukemia than children living farther away.
The study echoes others in the past. For example, one analysis of data collected by the federal Environmental Protection Agency conducted by The Associated Press in 2005 found that blacks are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger.
Facts like these show that environmental racism is still very much alive and an issue that needs attention from all of us. We won’t live in a truly just and equitable world until we solve it