Toxic Air Lingers In Texas Latino Community, As Air Monitoring Fails

"Public data from a network of state air monitors around the Houston Ship Channel is hard to interpret and is often inadequate, leaving Latino-majority neighborhoods like Cloverleaf unaware of whether the air they breathe is safe."

"CLOVERLEAF — On a hot, humid October day, Cristina Lazo readies her youngest daughter for a bike ride and whispers in Spanish, I pray to God nothing happens to you.

Lazo, who wears a Rebelde band T-shirt and biker shorts, takes Alina, an energetic 7-year-old, outdoors for short periods because it only takes a few minutes before Alina’s eyes get red and her coughing starts.

“Vámonos,” Lazo yells, lengthening the last syllabus as she begins pedaling through the streets of Cloverleaf, an unincorporated area about 15 miles east of downtown Houston. Alina starts coughing immediately.

Lazo, a 42-year-old mother of six, knows that tonight she’ll rub Vick’s Vaporub on her daughter’s chest, and in the morning Alina will still wake up with congestion and what Lazo calls "itchy spider webs” in her eyes."

Alejandra Martinez and Wendy Selene Pérez report for Environmental Health News March 14, 2024.

This project was created through the Altavoz Lab Environmental Fellowship in partnership with Environmental Health Sciences and received additional funding from the Pulitzer Center. It was co-published by The Texas Tribune, Environmental Health News and palabra.

Source: EHN, 03/15/2024