News & Events

Cockroach Allergens Cause Asthma; Studies Raise Environmental Justice Questions

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Yesterday, the same day the World Health Organization released a study of over three million people across 14 countries linking air-borne particle pollution to low birth weights, NPR carried this story about the impact of cockroach allergens on juvenile asthma, especially in urban areas.

"In New York City's East Harlem, a startling 19 percent of 5-year-olds have asthma, according to a report from the New York City Department of Health. On the Upper East Side, that number drops to a still troubling, but much lower 6 percent. That means that kids growing up in spitting distance of each other have a threefold difference in risk for developing asthma. So why the disparity? "

Click above to read more.

Locally, the contentious plan for an experimental waste-to-energy plant in Allentown raises similar issues. We know that urban children are already more likely to have asthma than their non-urban peers. And even within urban settings, environmental factors clearly determine further risk. The group Allentown Residents for Clear Air has shared this image, showing the proximity of the proposed plant to hospitals, parks, playgrounds, senior living facilities, and public housing:

The Air Quality Partnership of Lehigh Valley-Berks takes no stance on the DTE project or on the proposed new Clean Air ordinance in Allentown, but shares this and all information for educational purposes.