Data connects toxic waste sites and federal housing assistance

Environmental data shows that 70% of Superfund toxic waste sites are located within one mile of federally assisted housing. And a collection of other reports in recent years reveal a connection between toxic waste sites and federally supported housing.

Toxic waste sites are found all around the country. These sites have pollutants and levels of contamination that are harmful to people.

The worst of these sites are identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Superfund site. This label gives these places priority for clean-up funds.

For decades, new public housing developments were often built in poor neighborhoods near former industrial areas. Federal policy reinforced local zoning restrictions, land was cheaper, and projects were less likely to face Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) opposition. Many of these industries were heavy polluters.

Historic patterns of segregation have clustered low-income renters into segregated neighborhoods and communities, making them bear the brunt of exposure to these deadly sites. This is especially true for renters of color.

The Superfund issue is not the only recent report that has drawn connections between toxic waste sites and federally supported housing. Data has also shown that:

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