Latinos And Clean Air: A Personal Attack

BY ON October 5, 2011

Woman with children across a body of water from a power plant

“Nearly one of every two Latinos live in areas where breathing is unhealthy and even deadly.”

This statement shocked me…One of every two! Then I paused and realized I am one of them – so are my daughter and my husband. We live in Los Angeles, a city that ranks amongst the most polluted in the nation. We are one of the every two Latinos being affected by some of our leaders decisions to carelessly and shamelessly pollute our cities.

As a Latina mom, this attack is on me and my family.

A statement in a new report, “Latinos and Air Pollution: A Call to Action”, released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC), Center for American Progress (CAP), and National Wildlife Federation (NWF), highlights 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 timing of this report is ideal since it gives us even more ground as the attacks are more and more infuriating. It’s more like a war being perpetrated by those officials in Congress that have taken the side of the big coal and oil companies. To make matters worse, President Obama is showing signs of weakness by allowing them to delay the much needed regulations to control polluters.

These are not the voices of millions of Latinos claiming our right to clean air.

In the months to come, Congress will be facing a new problem: the voices, the faces…and most importantly, the votes of the 12.2 million Latinos expected to vote in 2012. We feel this attack on clean air is personal…

6 Reasons Why An Attack On Clean Air Is Personal To Latinos 

1. It”s personal because 1 out of 2 Latinos live in areas where regulations on pollution are threatened. To them the unhealthy effects of gutting the EPA and Clean Air Act are real.

2. It’s personal to Latinos because this is a population under and uninsured. Latinos can not fathom the costs associated to their health as a detriment of unregulated contamination levels in our air and water.

3. It’s personal because it affects our economy on a micro and macro level.“Latinos want clean air and a strong economy…we are the fastest growing group of voters in the U.S., and we need to know our leaders in Washington are fighting to protect our health and grow jobs – those two things are not mutually exclusive.” ~ Jorge Madrid, Voces Verdes board member and Research Associate at the Center for American Progress, {Source: LatinoVations}

4. It’s personal because many Latinos are exposed to contaminants and polluted air and water in their places of work. If they get sick at work, they can’t make a living. And if they can’t make a living, they can’t cough up the costs associated with their healthcare and medications. It’s a vicious cycle that affects the livelihood of our economy. Don’t think this affects you? Think again, we are all interconnected.

5. It’s personal to Latinos because they are three times more likely to die from asthma than other racial or ethnic groups.

6. It’s personal to Latinos because, as stated in the report, “the pending EPA mercury rule is critical to public health and would protect the nearly 40 percent of Latinos living within 30 miles of a power plant.”

Latinos are the largest minority in America. Don’t ignore our needs. Don’t makes us sick. Everyone will feel the consequences from an unhealthy group of 50 million people.

As a commenter on this Moms Clean Air Force post states: Air pollution is PERSONAL! To ALL of us! Luckily, there’s lots you and I can do. Click here to find out.


TOPICS: Economics, Latino Community, Politics, Pollution, Social Justice

  • Excellent article, Ana! Considering the high uninsured rates in the Latino community as well as lack of paid sick days, not to mention people looking for work, we CAN’T afford the health costs related to air pollution.

  • John Lichak

    Please help my family in our fight for clean air .Follow the link and sign our petition to President Obama!

  • Terri Lynn Sullivan

    Great cause, great video and article. As a mom myself, I understand Ana’s glimpse into our world of pollution and how environmental hazards affect our children 5x more than adults. Motherhood has galvanized me. And, although there might be some validity to Latino’s living in worse areas, I believe everyone in even the most upscale areas are negatively affected by dirty energy sources, chemicals, pesticides and other environmental hazards (just one example is the 1000 students/faculty diagnosed with cancer at Beverly Hills High School due to oil derricks running up and down the athletic fields. We need to come together as parents and fight against dirty energy (nuclear power plants for one), chemicals put into toys/products, Monsanto with its GMO’s…so many unwarranted environmental injustices for nothing but profits in wrong direction. Thank you again for doing this.

  • Valerie Coley

    As a Mother of two adult [37&39] children living at home…my daughter was diagnosed with ADDH at the age of 4 my son at 5 MBD complicated by other issues…I do believe now that so many [maybe all] childhood diseases are directly influenced by the toxic environment in which we live and breathe as well as the toxic products used in the home. Ana’s video says it all. Research has proven there’s a direct connection to addh…asthma…cancers…respiratory conditions on a whole in children.
    Companies really care little about the problems they cause…it’s all about gain.
    Doesn’t matter where we live anymore…I have seen Latino Communities that are in really bad shape. Everyone no matter what nationality needs to join this cause…sign petitions whatever it takes to make this a better earth for all. Convert your homes to a non-toxic environment as well. I have.
    Keep your families safe.

  • Norma Shelburn

    IWe want clean air for everyone!!!!!!!

  • As an aunt/pet mom, I want clear air for children, too.