- Manchester and Houston’s East End -
Houston, the self proclaimed “energy capital of America” is also one of the pollution capitals of North America. An investigative report from 2005 shows that the region’s refining and petrochemical industries are contributing to what leading experts on toxic air pollution would consider a “risky load of air toxics." [1] Many of these “air toxics” can cause cancer, asthma, kidney, and liver damage, among many other serious health effects. People are constantly exposed to these toxic chemicals in the places where people live, work, and play. It has been proved and well documented with quantitative research that industrial and environmental dangers disproportionately affect low income Black, Latino, Asian, and immigrant communities living in the East End of Houston. [2][3] EPA has repeatedly failed to protect these marginalized communities; this failure constitutes a failure to enforce federal law and international human rights. [4][5]

In a 2007 investigative report published by four leading environmental scientists, over a twenty year period it was found that racial demographics influence proximity to hazardous waste, “people of color make up the majority of those living in host neighborhoods within 1.8 miles (3km) of the nation’s hazardous waste facilities. Moreover, evidence is clear that racial disparities in the location of hazardous waste sites are prevalent throughout the country and among different racial/ethnic groups.” [2]

An egregious example of a community that the EPA has left in harms way is Manchester, a small neighborhood that sits on the Ship Channel in Houston’s toxic East End. According to US Census data, 92% of the 4,146 people that live in Manchester are recorded as being Hispanic.[6] There are over 21,500 permitted emissions points in Harris County, many of which are located within feet of people’s homes.

[1] Capiello, Dina. "Chronicle Cross-county Study Reveals Risky Load of 'air Toxics'"Houston Chronicle 16 Jan. 2005: n. pag. Houston Chronicle. Web. 20 May 2013. .
[2] Bullard, Robert D., Ph.D., Paul Mohai, Ph.D., Robin Saha, Ph.D., and Beverly Wright, Ph.D. Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty 1987—2007. Rep. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2013. .
[3] 1990 Clean Air Act 42 USC § 7413 - Federal enforcement.
[4] "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Six Cross-cutting Themes." The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Six Cross-cutting Themes. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 June 2013. .
[5] 2010 U.S. Census. Census Tract detailed data for Harrisburg/Manchester Houston, TX.
[6] Ezratty, Véronique, et al. "Effect of Formaldehyde on Asthmatic Response to Inhaled Allergen Challenge." Environmental Health Perspectives. [italicize] Vol. 115, No. 2 (Feb., 2007), pp. 210-214.

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