Mark Windt is an allergy, asthma and pulmonary medicine specialist at the Center for Asthma, Allergy and Respiratory Disease in North Hampton, NH. Recently, he submitted comments in support of the Carbon Standard to the EPA and spoke at the citizen’s forum in Greenland, NH.
We are clearly seeing an increase in the incidence of asthma which is particularly noticeable in the age groups below 18 years of age. Even the Center for Disease Control studies, published in June 2010, showed increasing asthma for all ages from 2001 to 2009. As a practicing physician, I can tell you clinically that I am seeing an increase in diagnosis of asthmatics of all ages. Exacerbations of asthma are clearly seen in my practice during days of high pollution, high ozone and increased temperatures. This not only effects my asthmatic population but also my COPD population who have many other comorbidities which contribute to their fragility of health.
Being a physician who is fighting in the trenches to keep people breathing, it’s not hard to identify the triggers that cause exacerbation in asthma and COPD. Any mother with a child with asthma can tell you that air pollution affects her child’s breathing. Any person with COPD or emphysema can tell you that air pollution makes them feel more short of breath, causing air hunger. These are frightening experiences for those people and the loved ones who take care of them. As a physician, my job is hard enough trying to treat these chronic diseases which have such a devastating effect on the lives of the people with these conditions without having also to fight the ignorance and obstructionism that prevents improving our air quality, and quality of life of not only our patients but all citizens. On behalf of my patients, their families and our communities, I urge the EPA to continue to support human health with disregard to the political or financial pressures. The true savings are not only in lives but also in human productivity and the cost of health care.