People with disabilities, about 25% of the U.S. population, have largely been ignored in the growing environmental justice conversation, Environmental Health News reports. The overall dearth of research, in part due to the fact many surveys never ask about disability, illustrates the point, but a recent study suggests disability often amplifies other inequalities including race, national origin, and poverty. “Disabled people—especially disabled people of color—are much more likely to be impoverished,” and are subsequently funneled into low-income housing that is more likely to be built near polluted sites, Arrianna Planey of UNC-Chapel Hill told EHN.
Of course, the disabled community has been acutely aware of the intersection of disability and environmental justice “forever,” disabled youth organizer Daphne Frias said. Researchers’ “focus has generally been more on how environmental injustices cause disability,” Catherine Jampel, fellow of the American Council Learned Societies, told EHN, “but much less on the specific vulnerabilities of disabled people to environmental injustices.” (Environmental Health News)