New study shows U.S. minorities consume less but suffer more from pollution

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A new peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that white consumers disproportionately cause U.S air pollution but that African-American and Hispanic populations bear most of the burden caused by emissions.

On average, African-Americans are exposed to 56 percent more fine-particulate matter than is caused by their consumption of goods and services. Hispanics are exposed to a 63 percent excess of exposure. In contrast, whites experience a “pollution advantage,” and are exposed to 17 percent less pollution than is caused by their consumption.

The problem occurs across the country, not just in industrial areas in major cities. The study also found that fine-particulate pollution from domestic sources caused 102,000 premature U.S. deaths each year from heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, and other diseases.

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