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Julie F., PA

When I was a little girl, asthma was almost unheard of. Today, it seems that almost all of my friends have at least one child with asthma. Overall, I don’t understand the dramatic increase, but I do know that the quality of our air has a significant impact on our respiratory health.

The Clean Air Act has been protecting the air we breathe for 40 years, but unfortunately some in Congress are putting the interests of energy companies before the health of our children by weakening existing standards in the Clean Air Act. We need to speak up and prevent this from happening. I have rushed my own children to the ER many times in the midst of an asthma attack when their inhalers and nebulizers were not enough, and they struggled for each breath.

I have seen my children gasp and vomit when their struggle to breathe becomes too intense, but I didn't know how bad it really felt until I participated in the ALA Stair Climb last year. Only then was able to truly understand what it means to fight for air, to fight to breathe. The person who encouraged me to participate reminded me that we do this so that we can experience just a bit of what people with asthma and other lung diseases are going through.

It is heartbreaking to me that my children and so many others have to manage this fight to breathe on a daily basis, but yet some in Congress want to prevent attempts to clean up air pollution that makes people sick. I can do all that is in my power to keep my children healthy and safe, but I can't control toxic air pollution like mercury!

We need to fight for our air and urge our legislators to defend our health and the Clean Air Act. We simply cannot afford to delay these protections any longer, not when children's health is at stake. Breathing clean air should not have to be a privilege.

First Published: June 27, 2012

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