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East Palestine disaster puts spotlight on 'sacrifice zones'

The East Palestine derailment has drawn attention to environmental crises. But Black communities that have faced similar issues for decades still feel ignored.

About this episode:

When toxic chemical spill from a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio last month led to health concerns in the area, the disaster attracted widespread media coverage, action from Environmental Protection Agency, and a bipartisan push to enact stricter regulations on rail safety.

Yet for residents of so-called "sacrifice zones," this kind of environmental disaster is everyday life. These communities, which are disproportionately Black, are close to industrial plants that emit carcinogens and other dangerous pollutants.

This week, Into America heads to Institute, West Virginia, a Black town that has long dealt with toxic air from nearby chemical plants, to talk with resident and activist Katherine Ferguson, interim director of the community group Our Future West Virginia, about the town’s fight for justice. Trymaine Lee also talks with Dr. Sacoby Wilson, a public health professor at the University of Maryland, aboutwhy Black communities like this one are hit hardest by environmental concerns, and what can be done to prevent further disaster.

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Find the transcript here.

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