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January 28, 2022Strengthening this one rule could keep frontline communities safe from their toxic neighbors

We grew up in or near predominantly Black communities surrounded by heavy industry. As children in Louisville, Kentucky, and Claymont, Delaware, we knew something was amiss when so many friends and family members developed dense coughs, asthma, cancer, and other diseases. What we didn’t know at the time is that we were among many low-income communities of color across the country suffering from toxic chemical exposure.  For decades our constituents have lived under the constant threat of explosions or toxic releases in our neighborhoods, never knowing what or when the next disaster will be. Parents must weigh the benefits of allowing their children to go outdoors with the risks of being exposed to harsh chemicals. We recently saw air pollution in our communities lead to disproportionate rates of severe illness and death during this pandemic, a trend that has been observed across the country. 

 

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