Hispanics face health risk from EPA delays

Sept. 21, 2011 at 11:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- One out two Hispanic-Americans live in counties that frequently violate air pollution standards, a report by U.S. non-profit groups found.

The report from the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for American Progress and the National Wildlife Federation, released with the National Hispanic Medical Association, said Hispanics are among those facing the greatest risk from efforts to block the Environmental Protection Agency updates for ozone, mercury and other air pollutants.

The report highlighted air pollution in states that are home to more than 75 percent of Hispanic-Americans -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The report was released days after President Barack Obama pulled back the EPA's stronger standard for ozone and shortly before a series of votes planned for the House of Representatives to block additional safeguards to protect public health from power plants, cement kilns and other industrial plants, the groups said.

The report found:

-- As of 2008, 4.7 million Hispanics had been diagnosed with asthma. In their lifetime, Latinos are three times more likely to die from asthma than other racial or ethnic groups.

-- Exposure to air pollution can aggravate pre-existing health problems, especially respiratory problems like asthma.

-- The pending EPA mercury rule would protect the nearly 40 percent of Latinos living within 30 miles of a power plant.

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