September 8th, 2011

Fighting For Clean Air

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baby sleeping

Around 11 p.m. most nights I find myself standing at the foot of each of my three boys’ beds. I stand and I listen. Sometimes it’s hard to hear over the roar of the heat or the drone of the fan, but I don’t leave until the sound I’m waiting for is confirmed. I patiently stay until I hear the air moving in and out of their lungs. Then I can sleep.

I’m really not one of those neurotic parents-actually I like to think of myself as pretty easy going. But I have reason to wait each night for that gasp of breath. Over the years my middle son has landed himself in the hospital several times for severe breathing problems related to asthma. Watching him wheeze and struggle for a breathe is a vision that’s hard to shake. Knowing what the outcome could be if his breathing is not regulated is unimaginable.

I’ve always wondered why this tiny little being was afflicted with something so random, so unexplainable. And knowing that so many others are suffering from similar afflictions is unthinkable.

Asthma is on the rise

Reports show asthma is on the rise. For the last several decades the number of people with asthma has risen, but between 2001 and 2009 it shot up 12.3 percent. About one in 12 people in the United States now has asthma.

Asthma is triggered by air pollution

According to Rachel Miller, deputy director of Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health:

We can say for sure that [the rise in asthma cases] is unlikely to be due to genetics because the changes have been too rapid and recent for that.

It’s clear that environmental factors have become a large contributing factor in the significant increase of asthma cases.  Air pollution from cars, factories, and power plants are all linked to asthma, as well as other air pollutants including tobacco smoke, and indoor allergens (dust mites, cockroaches, dogs, cats, rodents, molds, and fungi).  Millions of Americans, including nearly 37 million children, live in areas where smog makes the air unhealthy to breathe.

Bad move Mr. President, but that won’t stop me

In a controversial and disappointing decision, President Obama asked the EPA to withdraw proposed clean air regulations. According to the Associated Press, “The regulation would have reduced concentrations of ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, a powerful lung irritant that can cause asthma and other lung ailments.”

In spite of President Obama’s step in the wrong direction, there’s so much more that can be done. For my son and all others afflicted with asthma and other respiratory related issues I refuse to sit idle and wait for the President’s next breathe.

The time is NOW to collectively join forces and voices to remind the President and the rest of Washington that clean air is a priority for all.

This post is part of the MomsRising.org blog carnival to celebrate clean air. The carnival goes live March 15, 2012.  Be sure to stop by MomsRising.org for lots of great information on ways we can all celebrate clean air.

[Photo used under Creative Commons from D Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]

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19 Responses to “Fighting For Clean Air”

  1. I’m joining, and I hope other parents will too! Thanks for sharing this. Our oldest has an occasional wheeze, so I am with you on listening for that gentle, but deep breathing during sleep.
    We have to protect our most fundamental necessities like air & water.

  2. The EPA decision was so disheartening. Sigh.

  3. I’m so glad you joined Amity. It really is a wonderful organization, doing so much to protect our air and our children.

  4. Hi Sarah-it really was disappointing. It’s hard to believe that something as critical as protecting and cleaning up our air would be placed on a back burner.

  5. We’ve had respiratory issues too…including trips to the emergency room. No fun at all. Thanks for telling it like it is – we deserve clean air!

  6. This is so disappointing, and I don’t live in the US or have kids! This affects us all, but of course most critically our little ones who are so much more sensitive to pretty much every toxin out there. What a sad, sad outcome.

  7. I’m sorry you had to deal with that too Micaela. It’s no fun at all-actually quite scary!

  8. It really was very disappointing Andrea. Fortunately there are other things in the works that we can focus on. Although we are focusing on children, you’re right, it really effects us all.

  9. Tristin had serious asthma for a VERY long time in my old apartment. Once we moved, he hasn’t had a single bout of asthma. It’s amazing how airborne pollutants can hurt a child. Moms Clean Air Force sounds like an amazing movement. I will join. Thanks for the heads up.

  10. Hey Tiffany-guess that old apartment was filled with all sorts of allergens! Glad you were able to move to a new home and Tristin is asthma free. Moms Clean Air Force is a great organization-doing some amazing things to protect children from pollutants in the air.

  11. […] for a simple way to improve your indoor air quality? House plants are the answer.  It’s such an easy way to make a difference in your air quality. […]

  12. […] article is cross-posted from Groovy Green Livin. […]

  13. […] plenty to do. Climate change continues to be a very real concern and childhood illnesses, including asthma and cancer, are on the rise. Team ENERGY STAR is asking that we get our children involved and encourage them […]

  14. […] that vehicle exhaust is the leading source of the earth’s hazardous air pollution. He’s fighting for clean air and he doesn’t even drive […]

  15. […] that vehicle exhaust is the leading source of the earth’s hazardous air pollution. He’s fighting for clean air and he doesn’t even drive […]

  16. […] […]

  17. […] have the right to breathe clean air. This seems like a basic right, but I wonder why I find myself fighting again and again for stronger clean air regulations. And when it comes to our children and our schools I […]

  18. […] plenty to do. Climate change continues to be a very real concern and childhood illnesses, including asthma and cancer, are on the rise. Team ENERGY STAR is asking that we get our children involved and encourage them […]

  19. […] in September. I was asked to come up with a few questions for the physician and share stories about what it’s like to raise a child with asthma. I ended up having a very short appearance in this […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

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