Environmental Protection Agency

Recent Articles

U of M study: Race matters most in determining who breathes bad air

The Twin Cities earn yet another racial disparities distinction

By Isaac Peterson
Contributing Writer

In April, researchers at the University of Minnesota released a study showing that people of color in the U.S. typically breathe air that is 38 percent more polluted compared to their White counterparts. The study concluded that race and income are major contributing factors in how much polluted air is breathed, but that race matters more than income. Using satellite observations, data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and maps of land uses, the research team was able to compare the geographic data with Census figures to determine socioeconomic disparities in air pollution exposure. The study was national in scope and provided information on air pollution on a nationwide basis, broken down to show comparisons between urban and rural areas as well by city, county, and state. The pollutant the study tracked was nitrogen dioxide (NO2), one of the main pollutants targeted by the EPA, which considers it one of the most significant threats to air quality. Continue Reading →

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America’s Great Outdoors initiative connects kids and vets to environmental jobs







By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Contributing Writers


President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum in April 2010 establishing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and reconnect Americans to the outdoors. The memorandum calls for collaboration among the Departments of Interior and Agriculture as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House’s own Council on Environmental Quality in leading the initiative. Eight other federal agencies play a supporting role, and literally thousands of other partners from state, local and tribal governments, nonprofits and the private sector are involved as well. Getting young people, especially city kids, into the outdoors to experience our country’s unique natural heritage is a top priority of America’s Great Outdoors. Before pursuing any specific strategies, initiative leaders solicited feedback from everyday Americans as to what mattered most to them regarding conservation and access to the outdoors. Continue Reading →

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Is earlier puberty in today’s American kids linked to environmental issues?

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Contributing Writers 


Research indicates that indeed Americans girls and boys are going through puberty earlier than ever, though the reasons are unclear. Many believe our widespread exposure to synthetic chemicals is at least partly to blame, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why our bodies react in certain ways to various environmental stimuli. Researchers first noticed the earlier onset of puberty in the late 1990s, and recent studies confirm the mysterious public health trend. A 2012 analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that American girls exposed to high levels of common household chemicals had their first periods seven months earlier than those with lower exposures. “This study adds to the growing body of scientific research that exposure to environmental chemicals may be associated with early puberty,” says Danielle Buttke, a researcher at CDC and lead author on the study. Continue Reading →

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