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lead poisoning, asthma, mold, air pollution, home energy costs, food deserts, limited access to health food, vacant properties, trash dumping


This report calls out environmental racism-"the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color"1-in St. Louis. While these disparities have been part of the long-standing discriminatory and profit-driven policies and practices known too well by black St. Louisans, the issue of environmental racism has rarely been addressed in the City.

At least three recent reports- For the Sake of All,2 Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide,3 and Equity lndicators4-document the heavy health, economic, and quality of life burdens that the St. Louis region imposes on its black residents. This report complements those by focusing on the burdens related to environmental factors. It should come as no surprise that black St. Louisans are disproportionately harmed by lead poisoning, asthma, mold, and high energy costs- all of which are associated with factors such as substandard housing conditions and air pollution- due to living near industrial facilities, highways, and building demolitions. In addition, the City's focus on enhancing majority-white areas has left majority-black areas without adequate access to public transit or healthy food, and with high concentrations of vacant properties and illegal trash dumping.


Prof. Voss is a co-founder of and former litigator with ArchCity Defenders of St. Louis, Missouri, a law firm specializing in civil rights practice.