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Week 9 Reading.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Grace Barakat

Week 9 Reading: Socioeconomic status and health: the potential role of environmental risk exposure Socioeconomic status and health: the potential role of environmental risk exposure -in this paper we provide an overview of data indicating that income is inversely correlated with exposure to suboptimal environmental conditions. By environmental conditions we mean the physical properties of the ambient and surroundings of children, youth, and families, including pollutants, toxins, noise, and crowding as well as exposure to settings such as housing, schools, work environments, and neighborhoods - SES is associated with environmental quality and in turn that environmental quality affects health Hazardous wastes, air pollution, ambient noise, residential crowding, water pollution, housing quality, work environment, educational facilities, and neighborhood quality Hazardous wastes -environmental justice movement, launched in the 1980s, called attention to the fact that low-income citizens, and especially low-income, ethnic minority individuals, were much more likely to be exposed to toxic wastes and other forms of health-threatening environmental conditions relative to their more affluent and white fellow citizens Air pollution -ambient air pollutant exposure reveals similar race and income related trends -in low income countries from the 1970s to the late 1980s, the average levels of suspended particulate matter in cities increased -cities in middle income and wealthy countries over the same time period witness improved air quality (wealthy counties still had clearly better air quality) -Today increasing interest is focused on exposure to indoor quality, which may play an even greater role in the respiratory health and well-being of individuals, particularly young children, the duration of exposure is often greater inside relative to the outdoors -parental smoking which is inversely related to income levels, increases child exposures to a wide variety of indoor toxins -exposure to radon, a known carcinogen, is related to income levels -acute respiratory obstructive diseases such as asthma are associated with serum IgE antibodies to dust mite feces, cats, cockroaches, and certain pollens. Exposure to coackroach allergens as well as antibody sensitivity is associated with socioeconomic status Water pollution -higher levels of contaminated water among low-income populations -low-SES families are much more likely to swim populated in polluted beaches, as well as consume fish from contaminated water Ambient noise -exposure to ambient noise levels is also associated with income Residential crowding -residential crowding is also linked to income -similar trends have been uncovered in major urban areas in other developing countries -the quantity and quality of space proximate to residences may also bear upon health and quality of life. Low income neighborhoods have less yards of park per space for every child. Housing Quality -One can also look at bundles of environmental quality as embodied in the overall quality of settings such as housing, schools, work, or neighborhoods. -housing quality is strongly tied to income levels, which in turn are positively associated with home ownership and negatively correlated with residential mobility -social class differentials in childhood injuries from accidents in the home (ex. Falls) are correlated with hazardous characteristics of residential structures -poor families in America are also much less likely to have basic amenities such as clothes washers, clothes dryers, air conditioning, or telephone -the situation is even more extreme in the developing world -parental responsiveness was lower in poor versus not poor families, and these children had fewer learning resources (ex. Books0 in their homes. Low-income homes were also more monotonous, dark, and contained more hazardous conditions Educational facilities -an important setting for children are schools and daycare environments -the quality if the school environment is tied to income. Per capita school expenditures carry greatly according to community resources given the reliance of many school districts on local property taxes -predominately low –income schools suffered a disproportionate burden of inadequate school facilities -children in schools with a larger proportion of poor children are also more likely to be crowded -secondary teachers in low income schools are significantly less likely to have undergraduate majors or minors in the subjects they teach relative to those in more affluent schools -school safety is associated with income as well -the ratio of daycare staff to children as well as expenditure is related to income levels Work environments -outside of home and school, poorer ppl may be subject to greater health risks on the job -heavy lifting or tasks with repetitive strain plus daily contact with toxins, fumes, dust, explosives, vibration, and the like -among the most notoriously unhealthy labor sectors are seasonal agricultural work and sweatshop garment production. (settings predominantly by low income workers) -given the robust association of ethnicity and income among American workers, it is reasonable to suspect that differential income-work setting quality relations exist as have been documented with respect to ethnicity. We know with some certainty that work-related injuries are inversely related o wages. Moreover, injury caused sick days and duration of sick days per injury are both inversely associated with wages. -Similar trends have been noted in the developing world -children work in deplorable conditions that are filthy, polluted, hazardous, and unsanitary -stressfu
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