According to the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), numerous forms of pollution, such as toxic chemicals, are hidden in "plain sight," and those dangerous chemicals are affecting the Latino community.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy noted more than 3.6 million Latinos have developed asthma in the United States (U.S.), including 1 in 10 Latino children.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health, Hispanics are 30 percent more likely to visit the hospital due to asthma concerns than non-Hispanic Whites. Hispanic children are 40 percent more likely to die from asthma than non-Hispanic Whites. Puerto Rican Americans were highlighted to have twice the asthma rate as compared to the overall Hispanic population.

"There's no known cure for asthma, but understanding how indoor and outdoor air pollutants can trigger an asthma attack or episode is an important step in managing this condition," wrote McCarthy on the EPA's blog.

McCarthy was engaged in a Twitter conversation with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) as the EDF developed bilingual fact sheets about asthma and air pollution. An educational initiative is also in the works about important yet underreported environmental problems that affect Latinos in the U.S.

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McCarthy stated that 39 percent of Latinos live with 30 miles from a power plant. She added 1 in 2 Latinos live in counties with "unhealthy levels" of ozone pollution.

The EPA announced a proposal to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent from power plants. According to the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), the organization applauded the EPA's "historic" decision.

"The new standards set out by the Environmental Protection Agency are a positive step forward as we continue to ensure that [President Barack Obama's] Climate Action Plan is fully implemented. In addition, these new standards will not only protect the health of Hispanic communities across the country, but will ensure that future generations are protected as well," said the NHMA in a statement.

A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) earlier this year said Latinos "overwhelmingly" want limits on carbon pollution. The nation-wide survey revealed 9 in 10 Latinos want the government to take action against climate change, including 68 percent of Republican Latinos. Nationally, Latinos support limits on carbon pollution from power plants, according to 86 percent of respondents.

"Here's an important message for our political leaders, and it cuts across party lines: Latinos intensely support taking action on climate change and fighting air pollution," said NRDC Senior Attorney and Voces Verdes Founder Adrianna Quintero. "Latinos in the U.S. recognize the threat that climate change poses to the well being of our families and the future of our community in this country and abroad, and want our leaders to solve it."


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