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County-Level Inequities in Air Pollution Reduction

County-Level Inequities in Air Pollution Reduction

Full Title: County-Level Inequities in Air Pollution Reduction
Author(s): Yanelli Núñez, Jaime Benavides, Jenni A. Shearston, Elena Krieger, Misbath Daouda, Lucas R. F. Henneman, Erin E. McDuffie, Jeff Goldsmith, Joan A. Casey, and Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou
Publisher(s): Nature Communications
Publication Date: January 17, 2024
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

Over the last decades, air pollution emissions have decreased substantially; however, inequities in air pollution persist. We evaluate county-level racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in emissions changes from six air pollution source sectors (industry, energy, agriculture, commercial, residential, and on-road transportation) in the contiguous United States during the 40 years following the Clean Air Act (CAA) enactment (1970-2010). We calculate relative emission changes and examine the differential changes given county demographics using hierarchical nested models. The results show racial/ethnic disparities, particularly in the industry and energy generation source sectors. We also find that median family income is a driver of variation in relative emissions changes in all sectors—counties with median family income >$75 K vs. less generally experience larger relative declines in industry, energy, transportation, residential, and commercial-related emissions. Emissions from most air pollution source sectors have, on a national level, decreased following the United States CAA. In this work, we show that the relative reductions in emissions varied across racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

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