• August 10, 2021

How toxic are non-white metals?

The environmental damage caused by non-black metals is far greater than that of black metals.

Non-black metal pollution is estimated to be worth $1.2 trillion per year in the U.S. alone.

Nonwhite communities are disproportionately impacted by this pollution.

Black communities suffer from poverty, housing discrimination, crime, homelessness and more.

The problem is not only in terms of economic loss, but also environmental damage.

According to a study by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, the United States has more non-methane sources of toxic waste than any other nation. 

Researchers estimate that between 30 percent and 90 percent of non-fossil fuel plants in the United Kingdom emit toxic waste.

In France, it’s 70 percent. 

In a study from the United Nations Environment Program, scientists estimated that over a quarter of all non-renewable energy in the world comes from coal. 

Scientists have also found that the pollution caused by the burning of nonrenewables is also harmful to human health.

A study by University of California at Berkeley researchers found that carbon dioxide emitted by burning nonrenewsable biomass in India had been linked to asthma, lung cancer, hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

A 2015 report by the Center for Climate Change Economics and Policy found that climate change can make coal more carbon intensive and the pollution from burning non-metals also adds to climate change’s impacts. 

The issue is not just about environmental damage, though.

In an article titled, The Problem With Non-White Materials: How They Affect Climate Change, the Center For Science in Higher Education reports that, in the past, non-racial materials have been a major source of pollution.

The article describes how non-whites are being forced to pay a higher price for the pollution that they create. 

“When a non-White person uses a nonwhite material, he/she is paying a higher cost to create the material than a nonWhite person using a nonracial material,” the article reads.

“The price paid by nonwhite persons for the use of nonracial materials is higher because of the cost of nonrace-based pollution, such as the increased greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful impacts of nonwhite activities.”

The article further notes that the price of nonwhites’ materials is not the only factor that contributes to climate pollution.

“A number of factors are likely to increase the cost to non-Racial individuals of using non-racial materials, including increased labor costs, reduced environmental impact, increased pollution, and increased economic burdens.” 

The article concludes that non-racism and environmental justice “are not mutually exclusive.”