The Hispanic/Latino health paradox is the well-known health advantage seen across the Hispanic/Latino racial category in the US. However, this racial category collapses several distinct ethnic groups with varying spatial distributions. Certain populations, such as Dominicans and Cubans, are concentrated in specific areas, compared to more dispersed groups such as Mexicans. Historical peculiarities have brought these populations into contact with specific types of environmental exposures. This paper takes a first step towards unraveling these diverse exposure profiles by estimating how exposure to particulate matter varies across demographic groups and narrows down which types of industries and chemicals are contributing the most to air toxins. Exposure to particulate matter is estimated for 72,271 census tracts in the continental US to evaluate how these exposures correlate with the proportion of the population classified within the four largest groups that make up the Hispanic population in the US: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican. Using linear mixed models, with the state nested within US Environmental Protection Agency regulatory region, and controls for population density, we find that the Dominican population is significantly less exposed to PM2.5
compared to non-Hispanic Whites. Moreover, those tracts with a higher proportion of Cuban residents are significantly less exposed to PM2.5
. However, those tracts with a higher proportion of foreign-born, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans had significantly higher levels of exposure to all sizes of particulate matter. We discuss the need to consider the chemical components of these particles to better understand the risk of exposure to air pollution.
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