Health Status in Fence-Line Communities: The Impact of Air Pollution

Published: International Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care;  2021, Volume 2, Issue 3, Article 1040; 09 Sep 2021

This research focused on the health status of fence-line communities defined as those adjacent to industrial facilities. Previous research has shown that the longer a population is exposed to high levels of pollution, the more deleterious its effect on the health of fence-line communities.  The populations in fence-line communities also typically consist of low-income minorities and present health disparities. Study findings were that fence-line communities demonstrated high rates of premature death, greater number of unhealthy mental days, and COVID-19 death rates. The differences in death rates for Blacks and Whites were staggering. The risk of COVID-19 death for Blacks in the 11-parish study area ranged from 1.5 times to 11.4% higher than Whites. Fence-line communities are an example of environmental injustice and the effects of slow violence from air pollution.

The 11-parish study area in Louisiana, known as Cancer Alley, was compared with the U.S, Louisiana, Harris County, Texas, Los Angeles County, and Philadelphia.

Co-author of this publication is, Peggy A. Honoré, MHA, DHA, Professor in the LSU Health Sciences School of Public Health, Health Policy & Systems Management Program, and in the School of Medicine.

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