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Pollution Puts Latinos at Greater Risk of Cancer

By October 5, 2016People & Health, Juntos

El Seminario New Mexico
Last week, the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) released a new report titled Latino Communities at Risk: The Impact of Air Pollution from the Oil and Gas Industry and an interactive map that demonstrate, for the first time, the specific risks Latino communities in New Mexico face for diseases from airborne pollutants from oil and gas development.
The report finds that there are 89,322 Latinos living in New Mexico with cancer risk above EPA’s level of concern. 46,592 Latinos live within a half mile radius of an oil and gas facility. And each year, 3,286 asthma attacks in Latino children are due to ozone smog resulting from oil and gas facilities.
Christopher Ramirez, Director of Juntos, a program of Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund in partnership with Chispa and the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, released the following statement:
“Our Air, Our Water surveyed more than 1,000 Latino community leaders from Albuquerque’s International District, South Valley and Westgate and went through a community-led analysis that identified air pollution and quality as the number one environmental problem our communities are facing. Our communities have also indicated that clean energy and green jobs are the top solutions they believe will address those problems. Juntos understands Latino communities in New Mexico and other parts of the country are impacted by methane and other air contamination. Not only does New Mexico need to reduce methane pollution, but we also need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels to promote the overall health of Latino families, communities and economy.”
Rev. Dr. Richard A. Mansfield, Senior Pastor at New Beginning Church in Albuquerque, stated “The Bible says that the earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord. He also says that he has left us here as stewards of everything including the earth. That being true, I am incredibly burdened for the pollution that continues to destroy our land especially here in New Mexico. The natural resources that God has given us are enjoyed by millions not only from our state but also from United States and even those around the world. The pollution that continues to come from the oil and petroleum industry here in New Mexico is violating our land and every citizen of our state. The air-quality, water and land continues to get worse and worse affecting people’s health as well as quality of life. It is my hope that the industry would make the proper modifications to remedy this problem.”
“What we found in the report is that, as a US population segment, Latinos are particularly affected by airborne pollutants emitted by sources in the oil and gas industry,” explained Lesley Fleischman, lead author of the report and a Technical Analyst for CATF. “This is true for both communities living next door to oil and gas operations, and for communities hundreds of miles away, because these pollutants can travel great distances. We need to address the sources of this pollution now, for the sake of all Americans threatened by these health risks.”