Interactive map shows environmental health disparities across Washington

A new interactive map is shedding light on health risks around the state of Washington and the effect those risks have on the people living around them.

The map gives an idea of the areas all around the state where people are at the highest and lowest risk for health issues. The areas with the highest environmental health risks are shown in a dark purple color. In Spokane, a lot of those areas are right around downtown.

The map assigns a health impact score based on four main categories: Environmental exposures, environmental effects, socioeconomic factors and sensitive populations.

In Spokane, There’s one area that scores particularly high. Just east of Highway 2 in downtown Spokane, stretching east to Havana is an area of concern. This area scores a nine or ten in every single category.

If you live in the area you are at a high risk for exposure to diesel emissions, lead poisoning risk from housing and are living close to superfund sites. Superfund sites are polluted areas that require a long-term plan to clean hazardous contamination.

East Spokane also ranks highly in socioeconomic factors that put people at greater risk. A very high portion of the population in this area has no high school degree… Lives in poverty and is unemployed.

This is just one area on the map that shows how poverty makes people more vulnerable to environmental health risks.

Those who created this map hope that it will lead to better policies to help vulnerable people better exist with their environment.

To view the map and what it says about where you live, click here.

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