Asthma is a major problem in the US. More than 6 million children have the disease.
It is terrifying to watch a child struggle to take a breath. Breathing is the ultimate sign of life – when that is curtailed, it is a mother’s worst nightmare.
But asthma is more than a physical threat. It also has very real impact on our children’s education. Each day, 77,000 US children miss school due to asthma. Every single day.
What happens when kids stay home from school? They miss opportunities to learn. Their parents often have to miss work to take them to the doctor or the ER, or to pick up and administer prescriptions. And, kids miss school lunch. In fact, 40% of US children rely on free or reduced price school lunches. For many children, missing school means missing the most important meal of the day.
In honor of World Asthma Day, on May 2, 2017, we partnered with Allergy & Asthma Network, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Breathe DC, Children’s Environmental Health Network, Dear Tomorrow, and others to highlight the impact of asthma on our kids, and to make it real. We installed 770 lunch boxes and lunch trays outside of Union Station in Washington, DC. Each lunch box or lunch tray represented 100 children who stayed home from school that day and every day because of asthma.
Asthma is a complex disease, but we know that air pollution makes it worse. As the Trump Administration and their allies in Congress roll back public health protections and cut funding to protect our air, our children’s lungs will suffer the consequences. So will their education.
According to the American Lung Association, 4 in 10 Americans, or 125 million people, live in areas with unhealthy levels of particle or ozone pollution. Crippling bedrock pollution protections will make the air dirtier. We don’t want to Make America Dirty Again.