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:
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).