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Beth Gardiner: What Are The Consequences Of Breathing Dirty Air?

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Breathe

Journalist Beth Gardiner and activist Yvette Arellano explain the long-term health effects of air pollution. Yvette lives in a Houston neighborhood near the largest petrochemical complex in the U.S.

About Beth Gardiner

Beth Gardiner is an American journalist based in London. For ten years, she reported for the Associated Press in New York and London.

Now, her reporting primarily focuses on the environment. She has discussed her work on NPR's All Things Considered, WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, and the BBC's World at One.

Gardiner is the author of Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution, an exploration into the long term health effects of air pollution. Gardiner received grants to support her work on Choked from both the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in history.

About Yvette Arellano

Yvette Arellano is a gulf coast organizer from Houston, Texas, dedicated to the causes of environmental and racial justice. Currently, Yvette is leading efforts in Houston, home of the largest petrochemical complex in the nation, to help the city's most vulnerable communities on the petrochemical expansion fueled by plastic production.

Yvette is also the founder of Fenceline Watch, an environmental justice advocacy group based in Houston that is dedicated to the eradication of toxic multigenerational harm on communities living along the fenceline of industry. In 2015, they led the campaign against H.R. 702, which opened the floodgates to U.S. crude oil exports.

They were instrumental in the publication "Double Jeopardy in Houston", "Air Toxics and Health in the Houston Community of Manchester", and "Plastic and Health: The Hidden Cost of a Plastic Planet". These reports revealed deep environmental injustice in Houston. In 2018, Yvette was recognized with the Green Latinos Emerging Leader Award.

Previously, Yvette served as a policy research and grassroots advocate with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (T.E.J.A.S.).

This segment of TED Radio Hour was produced by Christina Cala and edited by James Delahoussaye. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHour and email us at [email protected].

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Manoush Zomorodi
Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Christina Cala
Christina Cala is a producer for Code Switch. Before that, she was at the TED Radio Hour where she piloted two new episode formats — the curator chat and the long interview. She's also reported on a movement to preserve African American cultural sites in Birmingham and followed youth climate activists in New York City.
James Delahoussaye
[Copyright 2024 NPR]