People living in England's most deprived neighbourhoods are most likely to suffer from the effects of pollution, according to two studies.
Air pollution has been linked to a variety of diseases
Environment Agency research suggests they bear the burden of air pollution, factory emissions and flooding risk.
And a Friends of the Earth study indicates one out of every two municipal waste incinerators in England are in the poorest 10% of the country.
Pollution has been linked with heart disease, lung cancer and strokes.
Environment Agency chief executive Baroness Young said the research showed the need for environmental inequalities to be addressed alongside social policies tackling poverty.
Friends of the Earth's waste campaigner Anna Watson welcomed the research, and urged the Environment Agency to "tackle the environmental exclusion faced by Britain's
"They can make a start by objecting to large incinerators that take waste from all communities but end up being built in deprived areas," she added.
She called for the government to introduce a tax on incineration, to create an incentive against building new incinerators.
"Recycling is the answer, not incineration in
England's poorest communities.
"If we incinerated less waste, fewer communities would have to suffer this environmental injustice."
Friends of the Earth say incinerators produce health-damaging emissions and create extra traffic.
And there are no proposals to locate them in wealthier areas, according to its study.
Sheffield resident Graham Wrose said the city's incinerator was in one of its poorest areas - already suffering traffic pollution and poor air quality.
"The incinerator adds to these problems," he said. "And people that live near it worry about the emissions from the chimney."
He urged the city council to consider ways to reduce waste and increase recycling.
Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Norman Baker said the research "clearly demonstrates the need for joined-up thinking across government departments and the need to put the environment at the heart of
government, not out on a limb".
"If the government's commitment to sustainable development means anything, it should mean not dumping unwanted industrial waste in areas where they think they
can get away with it."