Yesterday, April 20th, the American Lung Association participated in The Atlantic's The Air We Breathe summit, a day following the release of our 18th annual "State of the Air" report. This was an important opportunity to share more about the report and the importance of healthy air with the nation.
Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, spoke on the opening panel "How Clean is Our Air?", alongside National Association of Clean Air Agencies Executive Director William Becker and Allergy and Asthma Network President and CEO Tonya Winders. The panel was moderated by Ron Brownstein, senior editor at The Atlantic.
Harold had the opportunity to share that he is "encouraged and alarmed" by the findings of this year's "State of the Air" report, which found 40 percent of people live in counties that get failing grades. He also noted, that thanks to the Clean Air Act, this is an improvement over last year's report that showed 52 percent of people lived in counties that earned F grades. We should all be alarmed about potential rollbacks of Clean Air Act regulations and proposed cuts to EPA's budget. The discussion was lively, engaging and informative, and covered topics including the importance of science-based decision-making at the federal and local levels with regard to air quality. Additionally, the panelists discussed the need for Americans across the country to make their voices heard when it comes to the air they breathe. The progress in public health protections brought to us with the Clean Air Act have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. The panel discussed the health impacts for all Americans if those protections are rolled back.
Other panelists throughout the morning talked in depth about the importance of healthy indoor air, air quality and asthma, and the increases in lung cancer in this country. The content covered was tremendous, and the speakers were excellent.
The summit was livestreamed by AtlanticLIVE and also engaged audiences on social media with the hashtag #AtlanticAirSummit.