RIGHT TO BREATHE: 50 STATES UNITED

Alexandra Allred

I cannot express how little concern is given to the health and welfare of children or any residents of Midlothian.

Profession: Writer/Fitness Instructor
Group Affiliation: Downwinders at Risk

Clean Air Ambassador:

Alexandra Allred

Midlothian, Texas

(May 27, 2011 Update: The White House blog published a piece from Alexandra on her family's experience in Midlothian, TX and the meeting between her son, Tommy, and Barack Obama when he was a senator.)

When my family moved to Midlothian, Texas (a.k.a. the cement capital of Texas), we knew very little about the cement plants other than what we were told: "They're in compliance!" and "It's just steam coming out." We were more excited about the fact that we could actually afford land, own horses and goats, that we had an incredibly cool creek in the back filled with snapping turtles, crawfish, snakes, owls, coyotes, a bobcat and more.

But shortly after moving to Midlothian, my then two-year-old son, Tommy, became sick. Pneumonia, double pneumonia, bronchitis, fever, unexplained coughing and shortness of breath. We couldn't figure out what was going on because the rest of us—older, with stronger lung capacity—were fine. Only after a doctor at Children's Hospital in Dallas perused Tommy's medical file did he say, "Oh ... you live in Midlothian."

This was the beginning.

As I began to research, talk to my neighbors, teachers, school nurses and parents, I discovered that there was indeed a problem. School nurses talked to me about their "asthma baskets" and how the number of children with inhalers was growing. Later, my son's school would be named in a USA Today report as being in the upper 1 percent of the most toxic schools in the nation—the same school I butted heads with cement plant executives about being under the toxic plumes while children were at recess.

By age 5, Tommy risked being held back because of the number of days he missed due to severe asthma and upper respiratory problems. He was rushed to Emergency and put under doctor's care six times in two months! It was a horrible and terrifying time … made worse only by the fact that local government/city officials and cement industry did everything they could to keep this dirty little problem a dirty little secret.

In 2006 when it was discovered that a cement quarry was planned 500 feet from an elementary school playground, the response from AshGrove Cement (a company that is suing the city of Dallas and surrounding cities for supporting "green" cement) was, "We were here first." I cannot express how little concern is given to the health and welfare of children or any residents of Midlothian.

Image excerpt from How I met the President, a short story by Tommy Allred
Read a storybook about Tommy's asthma and his meeting with Sen. Barack Obama,
written by Tommy and illustrated by his sister, Kerri Leigh Allred.

In 2006, my son Tommy—who has asthma—met then Sen. Obama, and they had an impromptu discussion about asthma. (Editor's Note: Check out a story about this meeting with Barack Obama, written by Alex and Tommy and illustrated by Tommy's sister Kerri.) Sen. Obama told Tommy about his own daughter's asthma. We left that meeting on Cloud 9 believing this would be a man who would do something about our air pollution problem. I want President Obama to recall his words to my son, to remember the frustrations the Senator felt about his own daughter's asthma, to feel the certain pride and definite commitment he made to this nation and DEMAND cleaner air.

I ask that members of Congress and the EPA listen to us and make decisions based upon principle. A man or woman who truly loves his/her nation is ready to put service above self.
 

All Messages: Supporting Our Clean Air Ambassadors.

Very impt to be able to breath clear air. My husband has asthma and you can hear him breath or wheeze when the air is polluted.

Clean Air and Water = Basic Ingredients of Life.

Why would any corporation or human be against the cleanest of air and water ?

Thank You for Your Efforts !!! in educating the ignorant and mis-informed.

Clean air = LIFE! Clean water = LIFE! Polluted air or toxic-laden water destroy life little by little, or swiftly.

Whether in DC or Anywhere, USA, everyone, legislators and lobbyists included, are subject to the harmful effects of polluted air and toxic water.

Thank you, Ambassadors, for your continual efforts.

Clean air = LIFE! Clean water = LIFE! Polluted air or toxic-laden water destroy life little by little, or swiftly.

Whether in DC or Anywhere, USA, everyone, legislators and lobbyists included, are subject to the harmful effects of polluted air and toxic water.

Thank you, Ambassadors, for your continual efforts.

Thank you for your advocacy.

It is time that we commit to do the right thing. Clean and safe air and water should not be optional. It was ignorance that got us where we are but know we know better. It is time to say no to industries that are causing pain and suffering to us all.

I was injured in a chemical spill several years ago. I am confined to my apartment, have to be on oxygen 24/7, have severe asthma and very seldom get to go out. The air in Austin is polluted from traffic, construction, pesticide use and the toxic air from coastal refineries that blows in on the southerly breezes.

I have no where to go. I live on my tiny SSI check. This is my life. This is why air quality is important. And getting our society off the toxins we use and put in the air that make all of us sick, some like me worse than others but it is affecting everyone. Why do we have so many more cancers? Why do so many children have asthma?

We must clean up the air.

WATER! AIR! EARTH! If we don't take care of these things, then the entire human race is doomed, along with all of life, plants, animals, birds, fish, mammals. Whatever is going into the water, is effecting all life in the sea.

How many years will our life on earth last, if we don't take care of WATER, AIR, and EARTH??? How much more will the planet take the abuse it has, and stay in one piece???

You go for it! I am a PhD in Biochemistry and I follow the health and environmental field. The cement plants are horrible sources of pollution and should be under pollution controls of the strictest kind!

Thank you for your efforts!!

I applaud you stepping forward and speaking out for the need to improve environmental quality in Texas and throughout the country. It is frustrating that business concerns most always trump health of people, plants, and animals. Businesses should be paying the full price of damaging the quality of our air, water, and soil.

I live in Texas and have wondered about the cement plants, but I haven't seen media coverage of your concerns.

Thank you for your work.

The polititions do not care about the people, period. Only themselves and constantly worrying about relection.
We must care about the air we breathe, as when it is gone, so will be all of it's inhabitants. Their greed is destroying earth and all of mankind.
It must stop, and stop at once.
Guess we the people will have to take to the streets as they are doing in the Middle East, in order for the government to listen to our cries.

The environment needs us more than ever- thank you for the work that you do..

I live in Texas and agree that profit and politics often trump clean air and clean water at the expense of Texans' health and even our lives. I wish that we could require our legislators and their families to live in apartments under the cement plant plume or under the benzene cloud from a refinery operating out of EPA compliance (not controling its emissions). I do not wish our legislators ill, but this might be the only way they could understand the human cost of pollution and thus care about and solve these longstanding problems.

I live in Texas and agree, things have to change. TECQ is a joke and Rick Perry and most of the other state policicians are owned by the same people polluting our air.

I'm proud to say that as long as we've had a choice on our power providers, I've used Green Mountain Energy.

I'm proud to say that as long as we've had a choice on our power providers, I've used Green Mountain Energy.

I am baffled at how few parents care about the future for their children and grandchildren. I have been concerned about the environment for over a decade and am angry that society is just now waking up to the problem, turning a blind eye for the sake of money all these years. They all fail to see the long-term consequences and they choose to remain ignorant. I am trying to accept my neighbor but it is difficult when I see major pollution violations and our leaders do not care. frustrating. I do not understand why they cannot mandate recycling like they do in holland... or why they can't regulate pollution. oh yeah, i forgot - they only care about the almighty dollar. careless. inconsiderate. greedy.
i support any efforts to help our leaders do the right thing. It's not a political issue, it's a human issue.

I also live in Texas, & I've come to learn that the TX government & it's Reps. & Senators, local & national, for the most part are only concerned about power & the all mighty dollar. They don't even give it a second thought that their families, & grandchildren live here too & need a clean environment for a healthy life. It's madness! It's also greed!

Thank you!

Thank you!

I live in Texas also and am appalled at how polluted the state is and how few people care about the environment here. Well I care about it very much and am furious that all these polluters are getting away with making us sick. I try to vote for people who will listen to my voice and do something about the environment, but it doesn't seem to help. I stand behind all your efforts to protect the air quality in Texas. I do not understand all the people who vote for politicians who take all their money from special interest, big greedy companies who want to destroy our environment just so they can make a big corporate profit. Corporations and business interests rule here in Texas. It is a shame that more people don't care about these issues. Thanks for all you do.

Whoever though we would have to fight for the right to the 3 x 3s

Clean Air - 3 minutes w/out your body starts to shut down.

Clean Water - 3 days w/out your body starts to shut down.

Clean Food - 3 weeks w/out your body starts to shut down.

There is enough love of money to wipe out humanity ; our value system has been trumped!

Nothing in our environment is more important than clean air and water. A healthy economy also is critically important, but no industry should be allowed to compromise our air and water. It is difficult to understand how any member of Congress could disagree.

Clean air is among the human rights we inherit from Mother Earth, and those who pollute it are liable to all affected by their pollution violations.

The republican side of Congress does not care about the people they serve, unless they are rich corporations or oil and gas.

Everyone needs to put themselves in the place of someone that fights all the time to get enough fresh air to breathe. Put others before the needs of the wealthy,they just want to build more and pollute all the spaces they can.

Everyone needs to put themselves in the place of someone that fights all the time to get enough fresh air to breathe. Put others before the needs of the wealthy,they just want to build more and pollute all the spaces they can.
The republican side of Congress does not care about the people they serve, unless they are rich corporations or oil and gas.

Everyone needs to put themselves in the place of someone that fights all the time to get enough fresh air to breathe. Put others before the needs of the wealthy,they just want to build more and pollute all the spaces they can. Let's stop them now.

There are many cases in my family of asthma and allergies. Clean air is a must if want to have a chance to live a longer, happy and productive life. Money is not everything and those who do not have health as one utmost concern need to revisit their priorities.

THIS IS CRIMINAL TO DO THIS TO INNOCENT PEOPLE!!!
PLEASE STOP KILLING PEOPLE WITH THIS HORRIBLE POLUTION, NOT TO MENTION THE GREED BEHIND IT ALL!!! :(

It seems that the people that "represent" us in Central Texas are bound and determined to continue the Bush ethics, even after he is gone. They won't be happy until all the "little people" are sick, dying, and have no insurance. But the rich will still be richer. The air in Texas is so think you could cut it with a knife, and it is not the humidity. The republican side of Congress does not care about the people they serve, unless they are rich corporations or oil and gas.

The health and welfare of all Americans must be put ahead of profits for the rich!!

As a man with asthma I'm for any way there is to reduce the likelyhood of making it worse or having an attack. So please do what you can and I know what most our leaders in this state stand for but if you were me or if your kid was affected you might change your mind. Just to save these kilns some money if it was done right in the first place then we wouldn't be talking right now.

There is so very much pollutants in the are from factories, car emmisions,etc Naturally cancer is blmed on smoking or second hand smoke, which is malarky. I'm sure it does contribute to ones health, but the poisons in the air are much more reponsible. People don't even know what clean air is anymore. I remember after a rain the glorious aroma that would fill the air. But no more.

you have my support i think alot more should be done,,all these big wigs think of is just money,,do they ever wonder if it was family to them and it was their fault..well of course not..

They gotta start listening sometime!

Go get 'em!

You are not only fulfilling your destiny, but enriching so many lives along the way.

Why the majority of people in Texas seem to be so blind to the need to protect the environment is a mystery to me; after all, they brag so much about their independence, their wild, open spaces, their cowboy spirit - you'd think they'd be angry that some money-hungry businessman (anathema to a cowboy) is not-so-slowly destroying the state.

You have my full support. I am beyond fed up with the lies, half truths and pandering to big polluters by the Republican govt. of this state . We must join forces and collectively make our voices and demands heard. I only wish I knew what would actually force the hand of those in power in this state. As long as there is money to be made from big oil, coal and gas , I know that our governor is and will continue to be in their pocket. I am constantly signing petitions, writing letters ect but feel I am talking to a wall every time I send anything to the senators of this state about supporting the clean air act. Instead of directly responding to my questions about mercury and other toxins in the air , all I ever get from them is how it would hurt jobs! No job in the world is worth your health and no point in having a job if you are too ill to work! Please keep up your vital work and know many will support you in your efforts.

Tthe M/N foriegn corps like exxon,chevron an
wall st could care less.They need more of
our money for their ceo's bonus's.
To hell with the people,they need the money.

God bless our ceo's an the gop/

t

I 100% support what you are doing to improve the air.

It should be obvious that better and cleaner air is better for everyone's health. I personally believe environmental factors contribute to a lot of disease in this country and around the world. It is the government's job to protect the health of all Americans but I am sad to say they haven't done a very good job. We all have to be proactive in this regard.

I live in Texas, which is one of the world's worst polluters. I read somewhere that if Texas were a country it would be seventh in pollution in the world. Nothing to be proud of, but the conservatives just keep on keeping on.

I support your efforts in protecting our environment.

Thank you for fighting a problem that has been there for decades.

Thank you for what you are doing.

THANK YOU.

WE MUST HAVE A STRONG AND ACTIVE EPA TO PROTECT OUR AIR, OUR WATER, OUR ENVIRONMENT, OUR PLANET, AND OURSELVES FROM POLLUTERS. WE MUST NOT ALLOW COAL COMPANIES, OIL COMPANIES, THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, LEGISLATORS, OR OTHERS TO INTERFERE WITH THE EPA. I WANT MY WATER AND MY AIR TO BE CLEAN.

My heart goes out to the citizens of Midlothian, both young and not-so-young, because all of you are in danger of becoming seriously ill while the cement plants of Midlothian continue operating.

My husband and I are members of the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, and we have rallied in Austin in opposition to coal fired power plants and other polluting industries that spew filth into our air.

It is inexcusable and unforgivable for this to continue. Texas has an appalling record of air pollution. The American Lung Association has give Texas an F for Failure.

We have only one planet on which to live. We must protect it and nurture it. We must clean our air and make it a safe plant on which to live. Certainly, we have no other place to live!

The EPA needs to be empowered to protect the quality of the very resources we need to live on this planet. Once gone. It will never come back.

Thank you Ms Allred. Never give up trying to protect your children and your community. The corporations in Texas are extracting all the money they can while leaving the mess for the citizens of Texas. This formula is not working for the people and the environment of a supposed democracy.

Good Luck (stringing up Perry and his ilk)

Texas Citizen

The Texas air regulators, are they keeping the pollution from Mexican unregulated manufacturing out of the Texas air? It's the drug war stupid. We don't have time for cleaning the air with all this marijuana going across the boarder. That marijuana is going to kill your kids faster than cement particles in the air. Except your kids could be permanently injured before they learn to inject marijuana, smoke heroine, and have unprotected sex with no previous sex education except the fraudulent "abstinence only", leading to the highest pregnancy rates of the US, and the highest asthma occurrences to children in Midlothian,Texas.

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