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Deb W., PA

Living with 18% lung capacity has its challenges. Breathing in an environment that is filled with ozone pollution creates even bigger challenges. I truly believe that with each new challenge comes a new opportunity.

I celebrated my 58th birthday in June, and I am living with emphysema. I do not let my disease define me. I accept my physical limitations, and I also accept the opportunity to make a positive change in helping improve our nation's air quality.

I have good days and bad days, and I often joke with my friends about protecting my own personal air space. My day can be derailed by the smell of the local paper mill, the strong scent of the woman's perfume or the fumes coming from the car in front of me on the highway.

When my personal air space is attacked, my day's activities can be shortened and I don't have any control over it. I want to take back control of the air that I breathe.

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new standards for reducing carbon pollution from power plants. This is a huge step in the right direction for efforts in creating healthy air quality. It is time for everyone to be aware of their personal air space and support efforts like EPA's action to curb carbon pollution to help create a healthier environment for our generation and future generations.

First published: August 15, 2014

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