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Environmental Justice and the African-American Community

WHEREAS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified 1,408 hazardous waste sites as potentially harmful to the health of those who may live in communities which are in close proximity thereto; and

WHEREAS, the EPA has determined that the majority of these hazardous waste sites contain Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) which may cause harmful health effects to those persons who are exposed to them; and

WHEREAS, PAHs are a group of generally toxic chemicals which form during the incomplete burning of coal, oils, gas, wood, garbage or other organic substances, such as tobacco and charbroiled meat; and

WHEREAS, because of the multiplicity of economic and social obstacles still facing those within African-American communities throughout the nation, many of our communities are located in close proximity to hazardous waste sites which contain PAHs that may well prove harmful to those who are living and/or working in and around these dangerous sites, exposing them to PAHs through breathing, eating or drinking substances containing these substances or by skin contact with them.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP call upon the EPA and other related governmental agencies to become vigilant about the potential health risks to which the nation's African-American communities are being exposed and that environmental justice and equality demand that specific measures be immediately undertaken to eradicate dangerous levels of PAHs currently existing in and around African-American communities wherever found throughout this nation; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP encourage all of its units to work to immediately identify those African-American communities throughout the nation that are potentially at risk for higher than normal exposure to PAHs and that once identified, thereafter request prompt assistance from the EPA and/or other related government agencies to assist in the comprehensive cleaning of these dangerous sites so as to substantially reduce the risk of any further harmful health effects to those African-American communities so identified; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Convention re-affirm previous policies of the NAACP adopted in 2000 (Environmental Racism), 1993 (Environmental Justice Act) and 1983 (Environmental Protection); and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP will call upon the State Environmental Protection Agency to prepare a statewide information card on the site.

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