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YPIE Scientist: Esmeralda Martinez and Salma Barrera

Research: The Intersection of Air Pollution and High vs. Low Income: Examining the Effects and Role of Air Pollution in Socioeconomic Disparities

Awards: Somers Science Fair 2022

Mentor: The City of Yonkers

Research Location: Yonkers, NY


The purpose of this research is to investigate the relationship between air pollution and income levels, with a focus on the influence of air pollution on socioeconomic disparities. Previous research has found a correlation between air pollution and poor child development, including lower IQ scores. The scientific context for this study is provided by neurotoxicology, which focuses on the change of normal nervous system function caused by man-made toxic substances, and teratology, which studies birth deformities. This study, which draws on the fields of neurotoxicology and teratology, looks at how economic hardship and exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) during pregnancy may affect a child's cognitive ability up to the age of 5. The primary aim of this research endeavor is to investigate the relationship between income and air pollution by performing an intensive air quality monitoring investigation in various areas around Yonkers. Different areas throughout the city were tested using an air quality monitor to find variations in air quality and make a comparison on the levels of air pollution in these places, as well as to garner insight into potential inequalities and underlying causes contributing to these discrepancies. It was anticipated that low-income locations will have higher levels of air pollution, whereas high-income areas will have lower levels of air pollution. This study was undergone with the intention of understanding the causal mechanisms underlying the observed association between air pollution and income by evaluating the data obtained. Furthermore, investigating the consequences of air pollution on socioeconomic gaps and provide insights into potential environmental inequalities. Subsequently, the study as a whole aimed to add to the existing literature on environmental equity by shedding light on the intricate connection between air pollution, income, and its repercussions. This study's findings might assist politicians, urban planners, and public health experts as they undertake targeted measures to reduce the impact of air pollution on vulnerable groups and promote a more equal distribution of natural resources.

About this Scientist:

Esmeralda Martinez attending Yonkers High School and in Science Research working with Salma A. Barrera. Together they are trying to figure out the intersection of air pollution and High vs Low Income while examining the effects and role of air pollution in socioeconomic disparities.

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