Climate Change Tied to Pregnancy Complications–Black Mothers Especially Affected

Yesterday a startling study was published which analyzed 32 million U.S. births to reveal that pregnant women who are exposed to air pollution, high temperatures and ozone are more likely to have premature, underweight or stillborn babies. What’s worse is that Black mothers are at the highest risk of these pregnancy complications.

As the New York Times explained, “The cumulative findings from the studies offer reason to be concerned that the toll on babies’ health will grow as climate change worsens.”

Why This Matters: Communities of color–but more specifically Black communities–bear the brunt of the effects of climate change and pollution. It’s also well established that Whites are predominantly responsible for air pollution in the United States. The study underscores that climate injustice is intrinsically linked to racial injustice. Black lives quite literally face immense risks in utero. For instance:

  • Black mothers are 3x more likely to die from pregnancy complications. New research shows that Black mothers are at greater risk of their newborns dying or being born at a low birth weight due to climate change-driven extreme heat and air pollution.
  • Black Americans are more likely to die from heat-related illness
  • Flooding disproportionately harms black neighborhoods.
  • Black Americans are 75% more likely to live in “fence-line communities,” areas like South Philadelphia and Port Arthur, TX, which border oil and natural gas refineries.

What You Can Do: Moms Clean Air Force is a key group that brings moms to environmental advocacy, today to honor Juneteenth they are holding a free virtual event called This Let Us Breathe which will highlight the continual fight for racial justice, specifically, environmental injustices in the African American community. Stay informed, register to attend here.

Vulnerable Babies: As the Guardian wrote, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists already finds climate change to be an urgent threat to women’s health, in addition to a major public health challenge.

  • Climate change is linked with worsening cardiac disease, respiratory disease, mental health and exposure to infectious diseases. But pregnant women and developing fetuses are especially vulnerable to its effects.

Joe Biden’s Take:

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