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Posted on Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 1:40 p.m.

University of Michigan study finds black Americans more likely to live near polluting industrial sites

By Tina Reed

Black Americans are much more likely to live within a mile of a polluting industrial facility than white Americans, a University of Michigan study found.

The study found this was especially true in midwestern states where 58 percent of blacks in midwestern metropolitan areas lived within a mile of an industrial site, compared to 35 percent of whites.

It also found that participants of the study who had lower educational levels were more likely to live within a mile of a polluting industrial facility.

The study was conducted by asking more than 3,600 Americans questions about lifestyle, race and income and where they lived. Researchers looked at the locations of more than 21,000 industrial sites around the country against respondents answers.

The study’s findings had been adjusted for socioeconomic and other demographic characteristics, said the paper's lead author Paul Mohai, a U-M professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

“The disparity suggests factors uniquely associated with race, such as housing segregation and the targeting of African-American communities to place businesses more likely to pollute, may be involved,” U-M said in a release.

The findings appeared in the November supplements to the American Journal of Public Health.

Learn about efficiency

Interested in learning about weatherization and energy conservation in business or at home? The Clean Energy Coalition is offering public workshops with local “green” business partners at the Energy Outlet, 44 E. Cross Street, in Ypsilanti.

The coalition will offer a two-part series increasing home energy efficiency.

At a Saturday workshop from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., the coalition will offer tips on how to weatherize your home and give suggestions on the best products to use. The second part of the workshop will continue on Wednesday with tips on how to cut energy bills by conserving energy. That workshop is planned from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Workshops costs $10 and include a reserved seat and a 10 percent off coupon for the Energy Outlet. For more information about the workshops or the Energy Outlet, contact Deb Heed at, call 734-483-9000 or visit

Recycling tours this weekend

After the passage of changes to Ann Arbor’s recycling system to a single-stream system, residents will be able to get a look at the city’s Materials Recovery Facility this weekend.

On Saturday, the MRF, 4150 Platt Road, is offering tours and a family event to celebrate America Recycles Day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Families will learn how to make bird feeders out of 2-liter bottles. Starter seed will be provided, but participants should bring their own bottles. Tours will be offered after the event.

All interested must call 734-794-6000, ext. 43118, to make a reservation. For more information, visit

Tina Reed covers health and the environment for You can reach her at, call her at 734-623-2535 or find her on Twitter @TreedinAA.