For many African Americans ozone and air pollution aren’t on our radar – but it should be. Why? Because it has serious health impacts for our families and communities.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health:
- In 2010, almost 4,500,000 non-Hispanic Blacks reported that they currently have asthma.
- African Americans were 30% more likely to have asthma than non-Hispanic Whites, in 2010.
- In 2009, African Americans were three times more likely to die from asthma related causes than the White population.
- From 2003-2005, African American children had a death rate 7 times that of non-Hispanic White children.
- African Americans had asthma-related emergency room visits 4.5 times more often than Whites in 2004.
- Black children are 3.6 times more likely to visit the emergency department for asthma, as compared to non-Hispanic White children.
- Children in poor families are more likely to ever have been diagnosed with asthma.
- While all of the causes of asthma remain unclear, children exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke exposure are at increased risk for acute lower respiratory tract infections, such as asthma, and children living below or near the poverty level are more likely to have high blood cotinine levels, a breakdown product of nicotine, than children living in higher income families.
These are national statistics, but they have local implications.