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June 06, 2019

CNN's 'United Shades of America' explores Philadelphia's pollution problem

Host W. Kamau Bell also tours a waste treatment facility in Chester, Delaware County

United Shades Philadelphia Chester CNN/

CNN docuseries 'United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell" will examine waste pollution and its health risks in Philadelphia and Chester in an episode titled "Toxic America" that airs Sunday, June 16, 2019.

CNN's docuseries "United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell," filmed in Philadelphia and nearby Chester, Delaware County, for a new episode, "Toxic America," that looks at the impact of waste pollution in the region. 

The episode — scheduled to premiere 10 p.m. Sunday, June 16 – explores the health consequences of the "toxic legacies" in the two cities. In it, Bell interviews a former EPA official in Philadelphia on the Trump administration's view on environmental policy and its local impact and takes a tour of a waste treatment facility in Chester. 

Philadelphia and Chester have long been known for their histories of pollution. In April, Philadelphia-Reading-Camden ranked No. 18 in the American Lung Association annual report ranks the worst cities and metro areas for year-round particle pollution

Chester is home to four toxic and hazardous waste facilities. Waste incinerators can release toxic compounds when trash is burned, which can cause pollution and put the the health of nearby residents at risk. Chester's pollution problems date back decades. 1995 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report  found 60 percent of children in Chester had lead concentrations in their blood greater than the maximum level considered healthy by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report also found Chester had the highest infant mortality rate. 

"United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell" is in its fourth season on CNN.

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