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Clean Air Ambassador: Mark Mitchell

She said "it's not unusual for a third of inner-city children to have asthma," implying that there is a double-standard for asthma in suburban children and inner-city children.

I was conducting camp physicals for children attending the church camp across the street from my office, and I found that one-third of them had asthma. When I met with the state health official charged with investigating environmentally related disease clusters, she would not investigate because she said "it's not unusual for a third of inner-city children to have asthma," implying to me that there is a double-standard for asthma in suburban children and inner-city children.

I contracted asthma four years later during a fire at the sewage sludge compost facility that served 35 towns in three states. In Hartford, community residents are most concerned about the trash-to-energy incinerator that burns trash from 70 towns.

President Obama, members of Congress and officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency need to understand that asthma is one of the few diseases that can be legislated. Air pollution policy can reduce asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as premature death. Many environmental justice communities are in air pollution "hot spots" that put their lives at risk. Many sources of air pollution are placed in communities that receive little benefit and suffer most of the health burdens from air pollution. These risks from other local air pollution sources should be considered in the air permitting process, as well as numbers of children, elderly and other sensitive populations located nearby.
 

Ambassador Group Affiliation: 
Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice
Ambassador Profession: 
Physician