American Lung Association Steps Up Push for More Protective Ozone Limits
Strong ozone standard will reduce ozone pollution, save lives and improve health
(June 2, 2015) - WASHINGTON, D.C.
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Today, the American Lung Association announces a new campaign, "I Want to Play Outside," to help the public and policy makers understand the hidden, human, cost of ozone pollution: children with asthma and other chronic lung conditions are forced indoors when summer ozone levels rise, or worse. And it's not just kids with asthma, but all children who are susceptible to lung damage from unhealthy ozone pollution during summer smog season when ozone pollution levels can spike, making it dangerous to play outside.
The American Lung Association is launching a digital advertising campaign in the Washington, D.C. market that reflects this theme, and urges President Obama to adopt a strong ozone standard that will save lives, prevent asthma attacks and reduce the burden of ozone pollution on public health. Additionally, canvassers will gather outside DC area Metro stations to educate the public on the need for a more protective ozone standard and collect postcards, while representatives of health and medical organizations meet with Congress to enlist their support for more protective ozone limits.
Congressional leaders are voicing their support for more protective ozone limits.
"We have to take action today to ensure that our children and grandchildren will not be harmed by the air they breathe," said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. "I am proud to stand with the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and all of the organizations who have joined to lend their voice in support of a stronger ozone standard that truly protects public health. We need to listen to the health experts and prevent standards from being weakened so we can provide a cleaner, healthier future for our families."
The Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics represent only two of many other health and medical organizations calling on President Obama to adopt the most protective ozone standard under consideration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a standard of 60 parts per billion (ppb). The current standard is 75 ppb. Annually, a more protective standard of 60 ppb would prevent up to 7,900 premature deaths, 1.8 million asthma attacks in children and 1.9 million missed school days nationwide.
"Across the country, children look forward to playing outside in the summer days. But breathing ozone pollution can harm kids' lungs. For some people, it can also mean premature death, said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "President Obama needs to adopt a more protective ozone standard based on the scientific evidence of what is needed to protect Americans from the harmful health effects of ozone smog."
Ozone air pollution causes shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing; asthma attacks; and increased risk of lung respiratory infections. For children with asthma, ozone pollution increased their need for medical treatment and even increased the need to go to the hospital or be admitted to the emergency room. And more recently, breathing ozone has been linked to cardiovascular harm and risks to the central nervous system.
"Children's lungs are not fully developed, so they are more susceptible to dangerous ozone air pollution," said Dr. Norman H. Edelman, MD, Senior Scientific Advisor for the American Lung Association. "During summer smog season, parents should limit their children's exposure during the high ozone hours, afternoon and early evening, especially for children with asthma. A more protective ozone standard will ensure all children have the opportunity to play outside without risking serious damage to their lungs."
The American Lung Association is pleased to join with the American Academy of Pediatrics and other organizations in a June 3rd social media push, known as a Thunderclap, to encourage members, advocates and allies to raise awareness and urge stronger ozone protections by sharing this message during: "Reducing #ozone means children can breathe easier where they live, learn and play. RT if you support #CleanAir4Kids!"
To learn more about the need for a stronger ozone standard, visit: Lung.org/FightingForAir
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.