Health Impacts of Air Pollution in Des Moines: Local Resident Shares Story

New campaign calls on Des Moines residents to take action against climate change, air pollution

A new initiative launched today, called Stand Up For Clean Air, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act and asks Des Moines residents to pledge to take action on climate change and air pollution. The American Lung Association’s new effort also encourages everyone to share why clean air matters to them through the #MyCleanAirStory social media campaign.

This campaign will also help raise awareness about the health impacts of climate change and air pollution faced by Des Moines residents, such as Billie Davie, who has a daughter with asthma.

“Clean air is of importance to me on a societal, community and personal level. Having a daughter with mild to moderate asthma that is particularly triggered by allergens and respiratory infections, I am always conscientious of the air quality as this directly affects our way of life,” said Davie.

Growing up in a farming community, Davie had to be especially careful with her daughter during the growing season when more chemicals were used on the crops. Those pollutants in the air could result in her daughter struggling to breathe.

“Climate change and it’s direct effects on health is an area that is becoming of increasing importance. As a society our choices have exponentially affected the world we live in and created for our children to grow in. Due to these choices, families like mine struggle with the effects of climate change. This directly correlates to increased environmental allergens directly affecting the overall health of my family and many others,” she said.

Everyone is encouraged to share their personal experiences and concerns with air pollution and climate change on social media with a selfie, photo or video with the #MyCleanAirStory hashtag. Whether you love to bike or run, live near a power plant or highway, or your child experiences asthma symptoms on bad air quality days – we all have reasons why we want and need clean air.

“Air pollution is not just an issue for those with underlying health issues like asthma, breathing air pollution is harmful for everyone. But some groups do face an even higher risk – including pregnant women, babies, children and teens because of their developing lungs, older adults, and many communities of color,” said Micki Sandquist, executive director for the Lung Association. “Through Stand Up For Clean Air, we hope to elevate conversations around the health impacts of air pollution and climate change and motivate people to take action. The reality is that climate change is not only a future threat but is harming the health of Americans today.”

The Clean Air Act, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is responsible for reducing air pollution in much of the nation and saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Despite this public health success, climate change poses new challenges to protecting the nation’s air quality because it makes air pollution worse, placing the health of Iowa at risk. In fact, in the 2020 State of the Air Report, Des Moines’ ozone pollution got worse.

Climate change is worsening our air quality through increased levels of wildfire smoke, increased formation of ozone pollution, and more extreme storms and frequent flooding, which leave behind mold, polluted floodwater residue and other damage, exposing people to indoor air pollution as they clean up and repair homes. Many sources of climate pollution – power plants, oil and gas operations, and cars and trucks – also produce air pollution that is directly harmful to lung health.

Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, and can cause coughing and wheezing, heart attacks and stroke, developmental and reproductive harm, and lung cancer. Air pollution can even be deadly.

Learn more about climate change and lung health, as well as simple steps to make a difference, and critical opportunities to hold leaders accountable at Lung.org/air.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
312-940-7001
[email protected]

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