ENVIRONMNETAL DISPARITIES AFFECTING MINORITY MOTHERHOOD.



Racism is composed of a systematic hierarchy that attempts to withhold the growth, development, and success of minorities. Racism, in the United States, seeps through many systems; healthcare is no exception. In the United States, there is a distinct gap between the maternal mortality of white women and minorities. White women, the feminine status quo in American society, have privileges that many pregnant minorities are stripped from due to an imbalance in social, economic, and environmental equality. Minorities face drastic differences in lifestyle outcomes negatively influencing maternal development due to the lack of access to proper medical care, unawareness of birth control, and high poverty. While all of these factors contribute to a lower maternal birth rate for minority women, environmental hazards are a contributing factor that produces a substantial effect on the wellbeing of minority babies.

Racial minorities are far more susceptible to toxic environmental hazards that negatively affect their offspring's mortality. Many minorities live in urban environments that are prone to disrepair. Lead poisoning is a preventable disease, but officials remain reluctant to address the urgency for urban reform as the victims are not dominantly white. Lead is a common element found in urban areas as many urban entities lay riddled with health hazards unsafe for living purposes as officials tend to suburban, white-dominated developments that foster economic and industrial growth. A poisonous material in high doses, lead can increase the risk of miscarriage and premature birth (March of Dimes, 2019). Exposed to abandoned buildings, destitute brownfields, and vacant houses, minorities are far more exposed to dangerously high levels of lead, affecting child development as the mother inhales the toxic fumes. Minorities also reside in places where air pollution poses a high risk. 71% of African Americans and 50% of Latinxs live in areas riddled with excessive air pollution compared to just 34% of whites (Bullard, 1993). Most garbage dumps, landfills, and sewer treatment plants reside in minority filled areas Two-thirds of white citizens own a home, therefore they can exercise rules that block city officials from placing wastelands on their property. Only 44% of African Americans own a home, creating a large gap where many cannot protest against dumping grounds as they do not own the land they live in (Bullard, 1993). Coupled with segregated and discriminatory laws, many African Americans cannot move as their autonomy is controlled by systematic rules affecting not only their health but the health of their young. These hazards are not a result of chance, but rather by prejudice officials seeking to uphold white suburban areas due to prejudice biases against minorities. They are strategically placed in minority populations that are neglected and underserved as officials do not value marginalized lives as much as white citizens.

Environmental health hazards pose a significant risk towards minority maternity by directly affecting the mother. As the mother is negatively affected, the baby's health is harmed as the mother's health reflects the status of her young. Breathing in toxic chemicals and fumes harm the baby's health and pose risks for complications during and after birth. Hazards can contribute to premature babies who pose a higher risk of death as a low birth rate increases the chance of complications. Asphyxia caused by heavy pollution can occur, depleting the mother, and consequently, her baby of oxygen needed before labor. These environmental health hazards heavily induce miscarriages, substantially affecting the birth rate of minority children. Environmental hazards not only affect minorities but the offspring of minority women. Faced with toxic environmental hazards, the birth rate of minority babies remains heavily reduced as environmental hazards create unwanted health complications. The root of the problem lies in the systemic racism that occurs in society through urban areas of color.


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