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A global strategy for cleaner air and healthier communities

We harness new technologies to make pollution and its health impacts visible.

And we work with partners to clean the air in communities most harmed by pollution.

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Environmental safeguards
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Dr. Denae King started her career studying cells and genes. “I kept thinking, ‘I should be helping people with all of this knowledge,’” she says. Twenty years later, as a research program manager at Texas Southern University, King has become a force for environmental justice in her native Houston and throughout the region.

Most recently, she teamed with EDF’s Dr. Grace Tee Lewis, an epidemiologist who also grew up in Houston. The two have been sharing data about environmental and health risks with leaders in some of the region’s most vulnerable communities and facilitating plans to address the risks. For example, Pleasantville, a community that sits near the highly industrialized Houston Ship Channel, has created its own network of air monitors to identify spikes in pollution in order to demand change.

6.5M

deaths each year are estimated to be caused by air pollution worldwide.

Katie Moore and Bridgette Murray
Examining one of the Clairity air monitors — before deploying it in the Pleasantville neighborhood of Houston — are project manager Katie Moore and community leader Bridgette Murray.

We should all be able to live where we feel safe and where it’s healthy.

Dr. Denae King Research Program Manager at Texas Southern University
Denae King
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Dr. Denae King: A force for environmental justice

Pollution is inequitable

The Houston effort follows an EDF project in West Oakland, California, that used Google Street View cars equipped with sensors to map air pollution on a block-by-block basis. “It made clear that air pollution and its health impacts are not distributed equally,” said EDF’s VP for Health Sarah Vogel. “In the U.S., communities of color are often hit the hardest.” Armed with data and local knowledge, our project partner West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project created a plan to address pollution under a new California law designed to focus on pollution hot spots across the state.

Breathe London shows how and especially why the air is so polluted. Change will only be demanded when policymakers and many of us understand the pollution sources that are making us sick.

Jemima Hartshorn Founder of Mums for Lungs
Google Street View Car
As part of the Breathe London project, EDF and partners used Google Street View cars equipped with mobile sensors to map air pollution on London streets.

Local data, global scale

EDF expanded our work globally in the U.K. and China. Now, with World Resources Institute, we are co-leading Clean Air Catalyst, a global consortium launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development to develop local knowledge and solutions that cut air pollution and improve human health in cities in low- and middle-income countries. “New technologies are enabling communities to tailor solutions that better protect health,” says Vogel. “We are just at the beginning — there is so much promise.”

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