The air we breathe should be the most socially equitable part of our lives, free from the disparities and inequalities that govern the rest of our existence. However, study after study disputes this idea, demonstrating that low-income families and people of color are more likely to be exposed to toxins and pollution, and suffer most from contact with hazardous airborne particles. In America’s poorest communities, even the air reflects the inequity that increasingly defines the nation.
This inequity is further reflected through locally unwanted land uses (LULUs)–facilities that poison the atmosphere and pose a variety of environmental health hazards. According to scholar and environmental activist Robert Bullard, “Race is still the potent factor for predicting where Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUs) go.” “A lot of people say [it’s] class, but race and class are intertwined. Because the society is so racist and because racism touches every institution.”
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