Milken Institute School of Public Health Poster Presentations (Marvin Center & Video)

Title

Latino Communities, Diesel Exhaust and Environmental Justice in the United States: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Poster Number

55

Document Type

Poster

Status

Graduate Student - Masters

Abstract Category

Environmental and Occupational Health

Keywords

diesel exposure, environmental justice, environmental racism

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Abstract

Diesel particulates are an environmental contaminant that is associated with illnesses that affect the respiratory, cardiovascular and reproductive systems. People of color are disproportionately affected by environmental exposures, but the issue of diesel particulate exposure among Latino populations in the United States has not been investigated in the literature. This review investigates how diesel exposure in the United States affects Latino communities. We studied US Latino communities living in areas with measured heavy diesel pollution and compared them to communities in areas with lowered measured diesel pollution levels. The objective was to compare the incidences of respiratory, cardiovascular, or reproductive diseases. I searched articles published up to 3 October 2017, and included original studies that measured diesel particulate exposures, demographic data on race, and health status of the community. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Every study found that people of color were most likely to be exposed to diesel, usually by way of highways. Two studies found that Latinos were more likely to be exposed to diesel than any other population and as a result had higher rates of asthma. Another two studies had similar findings for heart diseases and cardiovascular mortality. Two others found associations between diesel exposure and low birthweight. In areas where diesel exhaust is present, Latino communities are 50% more likely to get lung cancer than Anglo-Saxons. 68% of those in the highest quartile of cancer risk are people of color, while only 32% are Anglo; the risk of a POC living in a high cancer-risk neighborhood in Southern CA is 1-in-3, and the risk of an Anglo-Saxon living in a high-risk neighborhood is 1-in-7. A 92% increase in frequent asthma symptoms was observed among those in high traffic, low-income neighborhoods and a 50% increase among those in medium traffic density compared to those who experience less exposure. There are approximately ten times as many Latino children living near high-traffic, low-income groups statewide than Caucasian children, which suggests that this is a vulnerable population. Census data found that families and children of color were overall three times more likely to live in high traffic areas than white children. Based on the review of these articles, we concluded there was sufficient evidence supporting an association between diesel exposure and respiratory, cardiovascular and reproductive illnesses among Latino populations in the United States. Further research must be done to fully substantiate this link, especially longitudinal and cohort studies.

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Latino Communities, Diesel Exhaust and Environmental Justice in the United States: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Diesel particulates are an environmental contaminant that is associated with illnesses that affect the respiratory, cardiovascular and reproductive systems. People of color are disproportionately affected by environmental exposures, but the issue of diesel particulate exposure among Latino populations in the United States has not been investigated in the literature. This review investigates how diesel exposure in the United States affects Latino communities. We studied US Latino communities living in areas with measured heavy diesel pollution and compared them to communities in areas with lowered measured diesel pollution levels. The objective was to compare the incidences of respiratory, cardiovascular, or reproductive diseases. I searched articles published up to 3 October 2017, and included original studies that measured diesel particulate exposures, demographic data on race, and health status of the community. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Every study found that people of color were most likely to be exposed to diesel, usually by way of highways. Two studies found that Latinos were more likely to be exposed to diesel than any other population and as a result had higher rates of asthma. Another two studies had similar findings for heart diseases and cardiovascular mortality. Two others found associations between diesel exposure and low birthweight. In areas where diesel exhaust is present, Latino communities are 50% more likely to get lung cancer than Anglo-Saxons. 68% of those in the highest quartile of cancer risk are people of color, while only 32% are Anglo; the risk of a POC living in a high cancer-risk neighborhood in Southern CA is 1-in-3, and the risk of an Anglo-Saxon living in a high-risk neighborhood is 1-in-7. A 92% increase in frequent asthma symptoms was observed among those in high traffic, low-income neighborhoods and a 50% increase among those in medium traffic density compared to those who experience less exposure. There are approximately ten times as many Latino children living near high-traffic, low-income groups statewide than Caucasian children, which suggests that this is a vulnerable population. Census data found that families and children of color were overall three times more likely to live in high traffic areas than white children. Based on the review of these articles, we concluded there was sufficient evidence supporting an association between diesel exposure and respiratory, cardiovascular and reproductive illnesses among Latino populations in the United States. Further research must be done to fully substantiate this link, especially longitudinal and cohort studies.