Your ZIP code and your life expectancy

Read the full story in the NYT’s Climate:Fwd newsletter.

For many, the past few weeks have been tough, but at least we’ve had a respite from pollution: With Americans staying home, emptying the roads and highways of traffic, skies have cleared across the country.

That, at least, feels good. But for neighborhoods with historically high levels of air pollution, a temporary clearing of the air won’t reverse years of damage wrought by the high levels of particulate pollution, ozone and other pollutants in the air they breathe.

I featured three such neighborhoods in my recent look at the effects of coronavirus and air pollution. Research has shown that polluting industries are disproportionately located in or near low-income, predominantly black or Latino neighborhoods. And, while the exact relationship between air pollution and Covid-19 is still unclear, research has shown that exposure to air pollution can make people more vulnerable to similar respiratory illnesses.

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