Dear Santa, I Want To Breathe

BY ON November 29, 2012

Child asking for clean air and a bike for Christmas cartoon

Air pollution standards, regulations and limits protect our children. Asthma is a disease children suffer from that is directly associated with air pollution.

Too many children live with these 10 asthma facts daily, which is why we must not weaken, delay or eliminate clean air regulations (adapted from American College of Allergies, Asthma & Immunology):

  1. Asthma is the most common chronic illness in childhood, accounting for 12.8 million missed school days each year. It also accounts for 10.1 million lost work days for adults.
  2. An estimated 22 million Americans have asthma; 6.5 million are under 18.
  3. Asthma mortality is 4,000 deaths per year.
  4. Mortality is especially high among Latinos and African-Americans. Latinos are four times more likely and African Americans are three times more likely to die of asthma than Caucasians.
  5. Asthma results in 497,000 hospitalizations and 1.8 million emergency room visits.
  6. The estimated economic cost of asthma is $19.7 billion annually.
  7. Direct medical expenditures associated with asthma, including hospital care, physicians’ services and medications, are estimated at $14.7 billion annually.
  8. Indirect medical expenditures, including lost work days for adults suffering from asthma or caring for children with asthma and lost future earnings from premature deaths associated with asthma, total $5 billion annually.
  9. Triggers that can initiate an asthma attack include allergens such as pollen, dust, animal dander, drugs and food additives, as well as viral respiratory infections and physical exertion. Obesity, use of acetaminophen and exposure to formaldehyde and other volatile organic substances are identified as new risk factors for asthma.
  10. Weather conditions such as extremely dry, wet or windy weather can worsen an asthma condition.

Children like to help solve problems that affect them and the last thing they need to lose are the clean air regulations that protect them. The girl in the cartoon understands that mercury spewing power plants and soot will poison her lungs and make her, and her friends sick. And what a smart girl she is for asking for a non-polluting bike to transport her from place to place!

If lawmakers don’t magically come to the aid of our children’s need for clean air to breathe, are we willing to wait for Santa’s supernatural powers to help?


TOPICS: African-American Community, Allergies, Asthma, Clean Air Rules and Regulations, Heat and Extreme Weather, Latino Community, Politics, Pollution, Social Justice