Environmental Exposures

Climate Inequities and Environmental Exposure – Air Pollution, Extreme Heat and Flood Risks

  • Low income neighbourhoods are more likely to be situated in areas more susceptible to environmental exposures and climate-related health impacts such as high traffic corridors (vehicle pollution), flood-prone areas (unsafe housing and water contamination), or neighbourhoods lacking adequate greenspace (exposure to hotter temperatures and solar radiation)43.
  • Marginalized individuals and communities are less likely to have the ability to access air conditioned spaces during an extreme heat event, access health services and social supports, relocate away from areas of poorer air quality or protect their homes from the impacts of extreme weather events such as flooding or wind storms44.

Climate Inequities and Extreme Heat

  • Young children, people with chronic illnesses, occupational groups such as construction workers, physically active people, Indigenous Canadians, the marginally housed or homeless, and socially isolated seniors, are particularly at risk from extreme heat45.
  • There is growing evidence of the of disproportionate heat- and air-pollution-related health burdens associated with unequal distribution of green space in urban neighbourhoods46.
  • Marginalized populations and lower income neighbourhoods are disproportionately impacted by hotter temperatures in urban areas – referred to as urban heat islands (UHIs), as these neighbourhoods often lack vegetation (e.g., fewer street trees and less green space) and have more heat-absorbing surfaces, such as pavement, which are two of the main contributors to UHIs47.

References available here