The worst 10 hotspots for fine particle air pollution in the US have been revealed by The Guardian in an analysis using cutting-edge modelling.
America’s top spot is not a traffic-clogged metropolis or renowned heavy industry zone but a small town surrounded by farmland and mountains.
These findings – based on a model developed by a team of researchers at institutions including the University of Washington – show that, across the contiguous US, the neighborhoods burdened by the worst pollution are overwhelmingly the same places where Black and Hispanic populations live. Race is more of a predictor of air pollution exposure than income level, researchers have found.
Check your own neighborhood’s air pollution in our interactive tool.
“What we’re seeing here is segregation,” said Julian Marshall, professor of environmental engineering at the University of Washington, co-director of the Center for Air, Climate and Energy Solutions and one of the team of researchers that created the computer model. “You have segregation of people and segregation of pollution.”