North Denver neighborhoods of Globeville, Elyria and Swansea, categorized as “Environmental Injustice” communities, pay a very high price in terms of physical and mental health of residents. HCACF Board member Michele Swenson's video investigates this environmental and social injustice and how it directly relates to health adversities in the neighborhood.
The intersectionality of environmental and social injustice relate directly to health adversities experienced by residents of Globeville, Elyria and Swansea (GES) in north Denver. The dissection of these communities by construction of I-25 in the 1950s and I-70 in the 1960s has introduced toxic small particulate vehicle pollution, exacerbated within 1,000 feet of the highway. Consequent increases of cardiovascular disease, cancer and asthma result in shortened lifespans, by an average 3-1/2 years compared to other parts of Denver. GES zip code 80216 was named the most toxic U.S. zip code in 2017.
Compounding toxic effects on north Denver neighborhoods, are plans to expand and lower the I-70 viaduct through GES, to intersect a floodplain and the unremediated Vasquez/I-70 Superfund site, containing zinc, cadmium, arsenic and lead from former smelter/industrial sites, as well as asbestos from a former landfill. Compromised air, soil and water quality contribute to serious health effects, birth defects and cancers. Clearcutting several Denver parks is a byproduct of city/state plans to expand and lower I-70 within a floodplain