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Melanie L

I had been looking forward to an active summer enjoying the great outdoors with my grandchildren. Yet, another year of severe wildfires has made it difficult for me to breathe forcing me indoors with limited options.

I grew up across the river from New York and am no stranger to smog. However, I thought life in Utah would be different. Each year, the air quality seems only to get worse. Climate change appears to be intensifying wildfires and the frequency of winter inversions. I’m concerned that the Clean Air Act and the necessary protections it provides are being threatened.

Both my daughter and I suffer from severe asthma meaning our health and quality of life is dependent upon having healthy air to breathe. I’m really scared for what the future holds for us. I’m only 60-years-old and had planned to spend the rest of my life playing with my grandkids, not struggling to breathe.

However, when I can’t breathe, my chest feels like it’s burning. It’s difficult to move and very scary to endure. One incident last year sent me to the emergency room leaving me dependent on oxygen for three weeks afterward.

Without strong healthy air protections, my health suffers greatly. It’s time we prioritize the Clean Air Act over big polluters and take in consideration the 177,106 adults living with asthma just in the state of Utah. Breathing healthy air is a right we should be able to take for granted.

First published: January 10, 2019

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