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In 2011, there were 65 days during the year when my grandson had to put down his baseball bat and pick up his inhaler. Poor air quality is literally taking childhood away from our children! We can save the joys of youth for them—and money for ourselves—by working to clean up our air.

Clean Air Ambassador | Painesville, Ohio

Susan Tullai-McGuinness

I am a registered nurse, co-founder of Nurses Environmental Advocacy Team for Ohio and a grandmother. Two of my grandchildren have asthma and live in Northeast Ohio. I do not have 2012 data, but the 2011 air quality data for Lake County, OH shows that we had 65 days in which the air quality index was unhealthy for sensitive groups. That is 65 days that my grandchildren had to be mindful that the air that they were breathing outside was not healthy for them.

I witnessed my grandson having an asthma attack when he was playing in a baseball game. At that same game, I talked with a physician whose son was also playing, and she talked about her son’s asthma. The Kaiser Foundation indicates that the 2010 asthma prevalence rates for Ohio’s young adults ages 18–14 was 15.5% compared to the United States average of 10.3%.

Poor air quality can also be an asthma trigger for adults. The Center for Disease Control reports that Ohioans have difficulty controlling their asthma. The 50.8% of respondents surveyed experienced an asthma episode or attack in the past year, with 24.1% having symptoms that required emergency or urgent treatment in the past year—many reported making several trips. More than one-third experienced the inability to continue work or carry out their usual.

In summary, poor air quality can lead to health problems. The United States is currently struggling to contain health care expenses. By improving air quality, the health of our children and adults suffering from asthma will improve. Clean air will lead to healthcare savings, making this not just a health but a major economic issue, too.

Clean air will lead to healthcare savings, making this not just a health but a major economic issue, too.

50 States United For Healthy Air

Clean air should be a fundamental right. Air pollution causes asthma attacks, lung disease, and even death. But our bodies don't have to be the dumping ground for dirty industries.

The technology to dramatically reduce harmful air pollution is available today, and major polluters should be required to use it.

Clean Air Ambassadors from every state are sending a powerful message: Everyone has a right to breathe clean, healthy air.

It’s time Congress and the EPA used their ears to help our lungs.