INDIANAPOLIS, IN | July 29, 2020
A new initiative launched today, called Stand Up For Clean Air, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act and asks Indianapolis 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 Indianapolis residents, such as Jo Carlin, who has seen kids suffer from asthma events and knows several people who have died due to cancers from environmental pollution.
“I grew up in Northwest Indiana and know first-hand the effects of air pollution on our health. The Ozone grade for Lake county is an ‘F.’ Over 19,000 Indiana children per year will suffer asthma attacks to do ozone from the oil and gas pollution of the region. These are avoidable health emergencies and we need to do better for our children,” said Carlin. “I can’t think of anything more terrifying than fighting to breathe, especially when we have data to prove the impact of pollution on our general health. The difference between personal health, and public health is the ability to choose your outcome. I can choose not to smoke – but I can’t choose to ensure the air I breathe is clean – that’s why we need federal guidelines and legislation that ensure our public health needs are met.”
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 Tanya Husain, 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 Indiana at risk.
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,” Husain 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.
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, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is 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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