American Lung Association Highlights Health Impacts of Climate Change, Air Pollution for Rhode Island Residents with #MyCleanAirStory#MyCleanAirStory social media campaign to amplify voices, elevate conversations and personal stories on the health impacts of climate change, air pollution
PROVIDENCE, RI | July 29, 2020
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 Rhode Islanders at risk, including the bad air quality days already felt throughout the northeast this summer. Through the Stand Up For Clean Air initiative, the Lung Association asks Rhode Island residents to pledge to take action on climate change and air pollution, including raising awareness about the need for clean air. Today, the Lung Association is announcing a new effort to encourage 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 Rhode Island residents, such as Kennedy Chartier, a lifelong Rhode Island resident and current student at Johnson and Wales. Kennedy was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 6, after suffering an attack at her grandmother’s house.
“I can usually manage my asthma, but on bad air days, there are certain things I just can’t do . I’ve had to miss out on hikes or certain outdoor activities with my friends, because when air pollution is bad, or when it’s very humid, I know I could have an asthma attack,” said Chartier. “There are also some areas of Rhode Island that I try to avoid on very hot days, because I know the emissions from highly trafficked roads or construction sites sometimes makes it especially hard to breathe.”
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 Jennifer Wall, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Rhode Island. “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.”
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,” Wall 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 media interested in speaking with a medical or policy expert about lung health, air pollution and climate change, contact Jennifer Solomon at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 516-680-8927
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.