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April 6, 1994

Pollution and Poverty Overlap Becomes Issue, Administration Promises Action

JAMA. 1994;271(13):967-970. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510370019005

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A MAP of the most polluted places in the United States is more than that.

It has been known for some time that such a map is also a map of poverty, minorities, and the weakest links in the health care system.

Many people in these communities complain that their concerns about this disproportionate share of pollution are ignored by physicians, researchers, and government officials. They say pollution-related diseases contribute to a cycle of poverty, and some feel that they have been targeted deliberately in what they see as "environmental racism." And while they stress that they are not opposed to properly conducted research, in many instances they feel that further study is a ruse meant to delay action.

Rev Benjamin F. Chavis, PhD, DM, executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, says that his group plans to "do more on environmental issues than we

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