Hurricane Harvey’s Toxic Legacy

Hurricane Harvey picked up and spread around scores of toxic chemicals in Houston, home to 6.5 million residents and 500 industrial sites—drawing attention to chemical-related health risks new and old.

Oil refineries, hazardous waste sites and abandoned Superfund sites caused concern pre-Harvey—damaged by the storm, they released toxic chemicals like dioxins, primarily in low-income areas home to people of color. Texas’ environmental agency’s enforcement rate is just 3%.

As super-storms ramp up, safeguards for post-emergency chemical releases—rolled back by the Trump administration—must be reinstated, says Environmental Defense Fund’s Elena Craft: “We need to be better prepared.”

The JAMA Network

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