NOMA Panel Addresses the Role of Race in Pollution Exposure

Bill Walsh | November 13, 2018

Last month, Healthy Building Network board member Brad Grant moderated a panel at NOMA Unbounded, the annual conference of the National Organization of Minority Architects. The panel, Materials Composition, the Design Process, and Human Health, Welfare & Environmental Justice, also featured HBN founder and board president Bill Walsh, along with noted architects Roberta Washington, FAIA, and Tony Crusor, AIA, and environmental justice leader Cecil Corbin-Mark of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. The panel coincided with recent studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that found race, more than poverty, was most closely associated with the heaviest pollution exposure from the fossil fuel industry, as well as a National Academy of Sciences study, as reported by U.S. News & World Report, that found blacks and Hispanics endure greater exposure to toxic chemicals from industrial facilities, while gaining fewer jobs from those facilities than white populations.

Choosing healthy building materials can help close these gaps.

HBN’s programs take into account these disparities when evaluating healthy building materials and practices. For instance, our HomeFree program recommends materials for affordable housing that are healthier both for building occupants and those living in manufacturing communities. By choosing healthy building materials, you can help reduce inequitable exposures to toxic chemicals for people of color—and all people, wherever they live and work.