Lower Duwamish is one of Seattle’s Unhealthiest Zip Codes

The score for all health impacts in that zip code

The score for all health impacts in select zip codes in King County

Where you live may equal how long you live
Several health indicators have been mapped and show an unsettling impact on life expectancy. By living in the 98108 zip code of the South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods of Seattle, residents live an average of eight years less than healthier zip codes. These minority and low-income residents are exposed to diesel fumes, live near contaminated sites, have higher rates of asthma, heart disease and stress related illnesses.

The maps show what an address can mean to a life:

Life expectancy by select zip codes

Life expectancy by select zip codes

Childhood asthma rates of select zip codes

Childhood asthma rates by select zip codes

These communities are in the Duwamish River Superfund cleanup area, where the EPA, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition and other agencies, including King County, are working to identify effective cleanup priorities for the waterway. The public is invited to comment by June 13th at http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/cleanup.nsf/sites/lduwamish. For a summary from project researchers at Just Health Action, read: http://justhealthaction.org/2013/03/seattle-cumulative-health-impacts-analysis-now-available/

More coverage is at:

New Study: Seattle’s Unhealthiest Zip Code
Lower Duwamish Waterway plan open for public comment
Study finds life is shorter for some in the 98108 ZIP code; Some residents of the Duwamish Valley have more health problems than residents elsewhere in the city, an EPA-funded study finds
Link to full report: http://duwamishcleanup.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/CHIA_low_res.pdf

Superfund cleanup is a part of the larger discussion about healthier communities. But how should a region tackle this kind of unequal shot at a healthy and long life? The reasons for this dramatic difference in life expectancy are not yet completely clear; factors like poverty, stress and access to opportunity have been shown to impact life expectancy and health too (for an accessible read, check out Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, or Monkey Luv, both by Robert M. Sapolsky).

2 responses

  1. Weed killers are one of the top environmental pollutants if not selected wisely. However organic grown food does not get reed of weeds, have no idea how a good vegetable is grown with all that weed surrounding the plant. But it does, I’ve seen it and it is amazing. The question is, should be destroy weed or not?

    1. Hi!
      It is possible to get rid of weeds without using chemicals. A great place to get practical advice is calling the Garden Hotline 206-633-0224 or email a question (http://gardenhotline.org/question/) or visit http://gardenhotline.org/.

      Check products at Grow Smart Grow Safe (growsmartgrowsafe.org), it lists products by health and environmental hazards and has good tips too.
      Happy gardening (yes, even in winter)!