Redlining, which for decades was used to justify discriminatory mortgage lending practices, may be impacting the current health of affect communities, suggests new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco.

An analysis of eight California cities shows that residents of historically redline neighborhoods; so are more than twice as likely as their peers to visit emergency rooms for asthma. Redline neighborhoods also exhibit significantly higher levels of diesel particulate matter in the air, the study find.

Kind of health problems

Redlining maps that were drawn 80 years ago, partially on the basis of race; hence are still predictive of not only who lives in a neighborhood, but also what kind of health problems they are experiencing,” said Anthony Nardone; so a medical student in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program; who led the analysis. Nardone will present the results May 22 at the American Thoracic Society Conference in Dallas, Texas.

Their study shows that, even though a policy gets eliminate or is recognize to be a poor choice; so its effect can have impacts even many decades later,” said Neeta Thakur; hence an assistant professor of medicine at UCSF and Nardone’s adviser. “They need to use that information to help us inform our current policies; also thinking about what potential ramifications are down the road.”

Though these discriminatory lending practices are now illegal; also gentrification has affect the demographics of some redlined neighborhoods; so they remain largely low-income and have a higher proportion of black and Hispanic populations than non-redline communities, Nardone said.

Redlining maps to determine

To conduct the analysis, Nardone use historic redlining maps to determine the HOLC ratings for individual census tracts; hence in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego. They then compare the ratings to air quality and health outcome data from each census tract from the CalEnviroScreen 3.0 database.

Though diesel particular matter has link to asthma; so the researchers emphasize; so that higher levels of air pollution in redline neighborhoods may not be the only factor behind the disparity. The psychosocial stresses associate with living in neighborhoods that have historically divest from including poverty; so high crime rates and even poor political reputation have also link to asthma and must be address in efforts to improve public health.

But while air pollution is contributing; hence the fact that these are poor neighborhoods without as many social assets as other neighborhoods is the underlying problem. People need decent incomes and jobs and affordable housing; also until we address those important social needs, we are going to continue to have a problem with the legacy of redlining.”