Asthma Awareness Month kicked off with grim news. The New York Times reports today that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that finds almost one in 12 Americans and one in 10 children are suffering the effects of asthma. The report showed that African-American children are most acutely affected, with nearly one in five afflicted, a significant increase from just 10 years ago when one in nine African-American children were diagnosed with asthma.
This sharp increase baffles researchers, but the numbers do not lie: more Americans are suffering from asthma than ever before. It’s likely that many reading this blog either suffer from asthma or know a friend or family member who does. There are many triggers for an asthma attack, such as second-hand smoke, mold or dust. But, big polluters like cement kilns and power plants play a prominent role as well. These facilities pump tons of fine particulate pollution and smog into our air, worsening air quality, triggering asthma attacks and causing asthma to develop in the most vulnerable populations: our children.
The CDC reported that Midwest and Northeast states are suffering the highest incidences of asthma rates in the country.
States like Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont and others all report more than 9 percent of adults with asthma. The American Lung Association reported recently that roughly half of all people in the United States live in counties with unhealthful levels of either smog or particle pollution.
We put together a powerful video called “Asthma Feels” , giving a glimpse into the world of those who live with asthma. Faith leaders, social justice advocates, doctors, nurses and affected citizens from all 50 states are meeting with their elected officials today to call for clean, healthy air. Nearly 15,000 of you have written your members of Congress, demanding they preserve an EPA rule that would prevent 2,500 premature deaths every year by reducing particulate pollution from cement kilns.
Asthma rates are on the rise, and there is much that those who suffer asthma can do to reduce their risk of an attack. However, there is still much we all can do to make sure our air is clean and future asthma diagnoses never happen.