Boosting Health For Children: New Report Reveals Transition to Electric Vehicles and Clean Power Would Prevent 148,000 Asthma Attacks in Pennsylvania Kids

American Lung Association releases report detailing health benefits for Pennsylvania children of transition to zero-emission future

A new report, "Boosting Health for Children: Benefits of Zero-Emission Transportation and Electricity," released today by the American Lung Association, highlights that a widespread transition to zero-emission vehicles and electricity would dramatically improve the health of children in Pennsylvania. The transition would prevent 148,000 pediatric asthma attacks and thousands of other respiratory symptoms in Pennsylvania by 2050.

The new report is based on projected health impacts if all new passenger vehicles sold are zero-emission by 2035 and all new trucks sold are zero-emission by 2040. It also projects that the nation’s electric grid will be powered by clean, non-combustion renewable energy by 2035. Nationally, transition to zero-emission transportation powered by clean non-combustion energy would help prevent 2.79 million pediatric asthma attacks and save more than 500 infant lives by 2050.

For Pennsylvania, the transition to zero-emission transportation powered by clean non-combustion energy from 2020 to 2050 would prevent up to:

  • 148,000 pediatric asthma attacks
  • 141,000 pediatric upper respiratory symptoms
  • 98,900 pediatric lower respiratory symptoms

“Here in Pennsylvania, transportation is the leading source of air pollution that impacts public health and the biggest source of carbon pollution that drives climate change. Our children’s health and well-being are greatly affected by that pollution, and as the results of climate change intensify, it will impact their futures,” said Aimee VanCleave, Director of Advocacy at the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania. “We urge Pennsylvania to join the growing list of states to enact the Advanced Clean Trucks standards to curb diesel exhaust and bring more zero-emission trucks home to improve the health of our children and their futures.”

Pennsylvania recently secured over $40 million in federal funding to address methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. Pennsylvania must continue to cut down on the harms of fossil fuels by accelerating the use of non-combustion, renewable energy and zero-emission transportation technologies. 

The School District of Philadelphia recently secured federal funding to double its electric bus fleet. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must follow local efforts to provide a healthier, cleaner environment for our children.

According to the 2023 “State of the Air” report, nationally, more than 27 million children under age 18 live in counties that received a failing grade for unhealthy levels of at least one air pollutant. Almost 4.3 million children live in counties failing all three measures. Children with asthma and other lung diseases are at greater risk. In fact, 1.7 million children with asthma live in counties that received an F for at least one pollutant. Low-income communities and many communities of color too often bear disproportionate burdens from air pollution broadly, and transportation pollution, specifically. Kids in these communities are at greater risk.

This new report that focuses on children’s health stems from the more comprehensive March 2022 American Lung Association “Zeroing In On Healthy Air” report, which illustrates $1.2 trillion in public health benefits could be achieved through this transition to zero-emissions in the United States.

Federal and State policymakers have the power to support children’s health by cutting harmful air pollution and climate change that threatens their future. The American Lung Association is urging Pennsylvania policymakers to enact policy standards to curb diesel exhaust and promote the sale of more zero-emission vehicles and is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize strong pollution limits for new cars and trucks that drive a nationwide transition to zero-emission vehicles. Adopting the Advanced Clean Trucks standard is a critical opportunity to bring the benefits of zero-emission trucks to Pennsylvania communities, and especially those most impacted by traffic today.

Learn more and see the full report at Lung.org/EV.

Get involved and help the mission of the American Lung Association.  In Pittsburgh, the Fight For Air Climb Pittsburgh is coming up on March 23, 2024. Learn more at FightForAirClimb.org/pittsburgh. In Philadelphia, the Fight For Air Climb is coming up on April 6, 2024. Learn more at FightForAirClimb.org/philadelphia. In Pittsburgh, the Fight For Air Climb Pittsburgh is coming up on March 23, 2024. Learn more at FightForAirClimb.org/pittsburgh.

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For more information, contact:

Valerie Gleason
717-971-1123
[email protected]

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