Study: Climate Crisis Disproportionately Harms Black Mothers and their Infants

WASHINGTON  – A major study published in JAMA Open Network has confirmed that an increased risk of premature births and low birth weights is significantly associated with exposure to air pollution and heat during pregnancy–and Black women were among the most vulnerable group. The peer-reviewed study was based on a review of more than 32 million U.S. births.


The following is a statement by Juanita Constible, a health policy expert in the Climate and Clean Energy program at NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council):


“This study is the latest to reinforce a disturbing fact: The dangerous impacts of climate change are inflicting a disproportionately harmful burden upon Black mothers and their infants, who already face inequitable access to quality healthcare, disproportionate exposure to pollution, and the chronic health toll of racism. The time to take urgent and decisive action to combat the climate crisis...was yesterday. Let’s get going.”



The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​

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