ST. LOUIS, MO | July 30, 2020
A new initiative launched today, called Stand Up For Clean Air, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act and asks St. Louis 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 St. Louis residents, such as Laura Turner who lives with asthma.
“I like to run and bike, and primarily I do both of these outside when I can. Because of my asthma, I have to be extra careful when exerting myself outdoors, especially in the summer when the heat is high. Since I already have issues with exercise induced asthma, I am extra careful to avoid running or biking outside when the air quality is poor,” said Turner. “When I have an asthma attack it often knocks me out for a couple of days and can set me back with whatever workout program I’m trying to stick to. When I have to limit my outdoor exercise due to air pollution, I am not able to train as effectively as I would have been able to.”
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 Susannah Fuchs, director of health promotions, clean air 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 Missouri at risk. In fact, in the 2020 State of the Air Report, St. Louis’ air pollution got worse for both ozone and particle pollution.
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,” Fuchs 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.”
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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