Air pollutants surround us wherever we are. On a daily basis, we are exposed to carbon, lead, nitrogen oxides, ozone, soot, and hundreds of other air pollutants emitted from our cars, factories, power plants, and heavy machinery. At certain levels, many of these pollutants become highly harmful to human health, especially for those living in areas with high concentrations of air pollution. Latinos are especially vulnerable because they live in regions with the worst air contamination.
The Hispanic population in the United States is increasing rapidly, surging by 43 percent from 2000 to 2010, dramatically outpacing the nation’s growth rate during the same period. Hispanics became the largest minority group in 191 metropolitan districts last year, with the highest expansion in areas of concentrated vehicle traffic, industry, and power plant activity. Nearly one out of every two Latinos lives in the country’s top 25 most ozone-polluted cities.This article was originally published in National Resources Defense Council.