Health Impacts of Air Pollution in Kansas City: Local Resident Shares Story

New campaign calls on Kansas City 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 Kansas City 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 Kansas City residents, such as Art Neely, who bikes to work, and is concerned about the future air quality for his three granddaughters.

“I believe climate change is real. As a grandpa of three wonderful girls under the age of 3, I’m concerned about their future and the negative impact air pollution can have on their development,” said Neely. “For the past 12 years, I have tried to ride my bike to work once a week. This 30-mile round trip commute has not only benefited me for exercise and reduced car maintenance and fuel usage but has given me great satisfaction to know I have not added 10,000 miles of car exhaust to our environment. I am very hopeful for the future. Clean energy sources will bring better air quality.”

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, teens, older adults and many communities of color,” said Linda Crider, 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 Kansas City at risk. In fact, in the 2020 State of the Air Report, Kansas City’s air pollution has gotten worse in recent years.

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.

“Most Americans support more clean air protections, but not all Americans know what action they can take,” Crider said. “From urging your elected officials to take action on the federal level to helping to reduce air pollution in your community, actions large and small can add up to make a significant impact.”

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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