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Toxic reality facing the poor, Americans of color

As we celebrate Black History Month throughout February, this story focuses on the harsh realities African Americans and the poor face when it comes to deadly toxins. A new study by the Center for Effective Government found that African Americans are “almost twice as likely to live within one mile of our nation's most dangerous industrial facilities compared with white residents”, and “poor residents are 1 ½ times more likely nonpoor residents to live in these areas.” The decision to build toxic businesses near African Americans and the poor dates back nearly 200 years in some places. The areas surrounding toxic businesses usually have lower housing costs resulting in large numbers of low income earners. Some businesses are taking steps to make African Americans and poor Americans safer. Presently, almost half of the more than 11 million Americans living within a mile of a hazardous facility are African Americans. Clorox made the decision a few years ago to convert its bleach manufacturing facilities to use safer chemicals. As a result, they helped protect more than 13 million Americans from dangers toxins, but more work remains. There has been a call by some for regulation on the part of the EPA to create buffer zones. These zones would require a buffer between residents, schools, etc. and toxic facilities.

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