American Lung Association Calls on Virginia Residents to Pledge to Stand Up For Clean Air, Take Action on Climate ChangeWith 237,521 residents living with unhealthy air, Stand Up For Clean Air initiative encourages collective action to address public health threats of climate change and air pollution
RICHMOND, VA | July 14, 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 Virginians at risk. To drive collective action on climate change and air pollution, today the American Lung Association launched the Stand Up For Clean Air initiative, encouraging everyone to sign the pledge at Lung.org/air to take small, individual actions that can add up to a big, collective difference.
The American Lung Association has long been a leader in protecting the public health from climate change and air pollution. Through the new Stand Up For Clean Air initiative, the organization is highlighting how anyone can make a difference with large and small actions. Some examples include reducing energy use in the home and bicycling, to spreading the word and calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set more protective air pollution standards.
“The health impacts of climate change are more apparent than ever before, as climate change is degrading air quality and harming health today,” said American Lung Association in Virginia Advocacy Director Aleks Casper. “Clean air is essential to health. Air pollution causes asthma attacks, heart attacks and even premature death. Emerging research has found exposure to even a small increase in particle pollution over the long term makes a person more likely to die from COVID-19. Air pollution poses a threat to the health of our residents, and that’s why the American Lung Association is asking everyone to pledge to stand up for clean air.”
The American Lung Association’s 2020 “State of the Air” report revealed that nearly half of Americans are living with unhealthy air. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, lung disease flare-ups, coughing and wheezing; and can cause heart attacks and stroke, developmental and reproductive harm, lung cancer and even early death. Everyone is at risk from breathing air pollution – but some groups are more vulnerable, including the 42,959 children, 25,209 older adults (65+), and 3,075 children with asthma living in a county with a failing grade in Virginia.
Climate change jeopardizes the lives and lung health of Americans by fueling record-breaking heat, wildfires, super storms and floods. These worsening climate trends contribute to harmful smoke, mold, polluted floodwater residue and other damage, exposing people to indoor air pollution as they clean up and repair homes. Power plants, oil and gas operations, and cars and trucks also produce air pollution that is directly harmful to lung health.
“Even if you’ve never considered your part in addressing climate change and air pollution, now is everyone’s chance to make a difference. It’s not too late, and every action counts,” Casper said. “Stand Up For Clean Air empowers everyone to make small changes in their lives that will add up to a big collective difference. I hope you’ll join the American Lung Association in its vision of a world free of lung disease.”
The Lung Association is proud to recognize our partners ComEd, Dyson and Aprilaire in this initiative, helping us work to ensure a cleaner, healthier future for all.
Learn more about Stand Up For Clean Air at Lung.org/air. For media interested in speaking with a medical or policy expert about lung health, air pollution and climate change, contact Valerie Gleason at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 717-971-1123.
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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