It’s been said that you can tell more about someone’s health by looking at their zip code than their genetic code.
People who live in neighborhoods along the Lower Duwamish River – zip code 98108 – don’t live as long as other residents of King County. On average, they die eight years earlier.
That’s according to the newly released Duwamish Valley Cumulative Health Impacts Analysis. The study was conducted by two non-profit environmental health organizations and draws on data from the U.S. Census and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The study found that when compared with other neighborhoods, residents of zip code 98108 are more likely to be exposed to diesel air pollution and they are more likely to live near contaminated sites. They are also more likely to be hospitalized for asthma and to be diagnosed with heart disease.
98108 is the zip code for the South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods of Seattle. These heavily minority and low-income communities are the closest to the contaminated Duwamish River industrial sites that are slated for clean up under the EPA Superfund program.
“The fact that there’s been all these disproportionate exposures in low income people in that part of town was always anecdotal and never really quantified into a format that you could say this is definitive,” says Linn Gould, the principal investigator on the report with a non-profit called Just Health Action.
The EPA has released a draft clean up plan that is open for public comment until June 13.
98108 By The Maps Courtesy of Duwamish River Clean Up Coalition and Just Health Action