Study finds sources of air pollution impact people of color

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A national study shows that air pollution is a bigger concern for people of color than it is for caucasians.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Assistant Professor Christopher Tessum was a part of the research.

He says that data shows the problem is coming from all over.

Some of the causes they found are related to off-road vehicles and equipment, construction and even road dust.

“Instead we find that it’s the vast majority of all the sources that are causing that are contributing to this problem and that there aren’t any of them that are causing a lot more of a pollution or a lot more of the disparity than the other sources,” said Tessum.

Tessum hopes that with these results, his team can work with those dealing with the problem in the future.

“One thing I think should in general be a priority is to you know make sure that we’re going forward working with the people in these communities and the people that advocate for them and organizations to make sure that we’re you know, trying to implement solutions that are actually useful to them,” said Tessum.

We reached out to Faith in Place, a local environmental justice agency, about Champaign and central Illinois specifically.

Leaders say that the study may have been done nationwide but it still hits home and everyone can do their part to help the issue.

“We need to make a policy going forward as we shape our energy policy, as we shape our infrastructure policy, that will make all of us share the benefits of a cleaner, brighter future,” said Cindy Shepherd, the central Illinois outreach director for Faith in Place.

Faith in Place tells us that Illinois leads the country in the number of fossil fuel burning plants located in communities of color.

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