"Disadvantaged kids not only breathe disproportionate amounts bad air, but they also can be more vulnerable to the ill effects of that bad air."
The death of 10-year-old Kellen Bolden from asthma in Jonesboroo, Ga., was just one example. "'We know that air quality is unacceptable in many places,' said Christopher Paul, a graduate student in environmental policy at Duke University. 'This is just one of a number of assaults on children's well-being that makes it harder to lead healthy, successful lives.'
Paul is a researcher on a study published last year that describes disparities in air quality around the U.S. By pairing census data with air pollution levels from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's monitoring network, his team found that low-income and minority groups -- in particular, poor children of color -- tend to be most exposed to air pollution.
Disadvantaged kids not only breathe disproportionate amounts bad air, but they also can be more vulnerable to the ill effects of that bad air. As The Huffington Post reported in March, asthma is likely the most notorious of these ailments. Nearly one in four Hispanic and Puerto Rican kids living in poverty in the U.S. has been diagnosed with the condition that can cause wheezing, coughing, breathlessness and chest tightness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That compares with about one in 13 middle-class or wealthy white children. (The agency also reports similar disparities in exposures to air pollution.)
Air pollution, Mitchell said, was a major trigger for Kellen's asthma."