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Abby R., PA

For too many years, my family has experienced the harmful and painful effects of living in an environment without clean air. My mother suffered from asthma since childhood, but her lung condition grew progressively worse when she moved to Pittsburgh, where she spent the last eight years of her life.

She developed lung cancer most likely during that time. Although she never smoked, she died from COPD in March 2013. My mom is not the only person in my family who has known what it's like to struggle to breathe. My husband also had severe asthma as a child and continues to struggle with the disease as an adult.

We moved to Pittsburgh in 1986. One of our three children who has lived in Pittsburgh most of his life has exercise induced asthma, and I also developed exercise induced asthma since moving to the area almost three decades ago.

While I recognize the importance of sharing my family's story, I know it is far from unique. There are so many people, especially in cities like Pittsburgh, going through the same experience.

It is imperative that the EPA enacts strict carbon pollution standards to help clean up the air. There are generations depending on it.

First published: March 28, 2014

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