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April 12, 2018



April 12, 2018

Contact: Michael Soneff
(202) 578-0167

WASHINGTON D.C.—Today Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-San Pedro) co-hosted a roundtable discussion between public health experts and Members of Congress to discuss the health impacts that poor air quality has on low-income and minority communities. This public health crisis is just one of the many environmental injustices that people of color, low-income and rural communities face daily.


“Kids in my district are suffering from asthma and other respiratory issues just because of the neighborhood they live in,” said Rep. Barragán.  “At a time when it feels like all of our core environmental protections are under assault, we must take action to reduce air pollution, now. Nothing less than the health of our children and our communities is at stake.”


Communities of color, along with low-income and rural communities, have long endured profound environmental injustice. They face lower air quality and higher threats to public health in comparison to wealthier communities. They are also focused on making ends meet, juggling multiple jobs and finding proper childcare. This makes it difficult for them to organize in large numbers and push back when companies want to build pollution-producing factories or toxic facilities in their communities. Furthermore, inadequate investment in public infrastructure and services exacerbates the poor conditions these communities and families are forced to endure.


“The experts agree there is a direct connection between bad air quality and poor kids getting sick,” Congresswoman Barragán added. “Congress needs to stand up for these kids by enforcing our clean air laws.”


Rep. Barragán was joined by co-host and Vice Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Rep. Keith Ellison and colleague Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, as well as health professionals and experts, including:  Dr. Laura Anderko, PhD, RN, Professor and Endowed Chair, Georgetown University; Mr. Paul Billings, Senior Vice President for Advocacy, American Lung Association;  Ms. Jennifer Li, MHS, Senior Director, Environmental Health Program, National Association of County and City Health Officials; Dr. Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, President and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association; and Ms. Kerene N. Tayloe, Esq., Policy Director, Green For All.


Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington.