For an article titled “How Air Pollution is Impacting Our Kids and What We Can Do About It” written by Kara Corridan for Parents magazine, Moms Clean Air Force’s senior director and cofounder, Dominique Browning discusses why air pollution is serious problem for children and what steps parents can take to improve the air their children breathe.
Please enjoy this excerpt and read the full article HERE:
Fortunately, all of us can take steps to reduce air pollution. “Most of the steps are ‘small but meaningful,’” says Dominique Browning, senior director and cofounder of the advocacy group Moms Clean Air Force. “But if everyone did them, it would make a big difference in improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions.”
What You Can Do
Lay Off The Gas Pedal
- Don’t idle—in your garage, in a parking lot, or on the car line at school. “There should be an infrared camera showing what’s spewing out of a tailpipe when a car is idling—especially in summer when it’s hot and emissions contribute to the formation of smog,” says Browning. Of course, there are times when you have no choice, such as when you’re in slow traffic or on a cold day when you need to run your car to defrost your windows. But otherwise, if you’re stopped for 10 seconds or longer, turn off the engine.
- Instead of taking multiple car trips to run errands, combine as many trips into one as you can so that you reduce emissions. “I can’t tell you how many parents—even ones whose children have asthma—don’t realize that one of the biggest sources of air pollution could be their car,” says Dr. Bernstein.
Consider Your Home
- Have an HVAC specialist confirm that your home is properly ventilated , especially if you have a gas cooktop, a woodburning stove, or a fireplace, and that your furnace doesn’t leak any gases.
- Regularly check the air filter on your furnace, and change it when it’s dirty.
- Tell your energy supplier that you want to buy renewable energy (such as wind or solar power). Your home won’t necessarily be powered through those sources, but the company will have to purchase a percentage of your power through them. Some companies charge a small monthly fee for this service, but you’ll reduce your carbon footprint without making any drastic changes.
Cut Back On Pollutants
- Test your home for radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer, and install radon-mitigation equipment if needed.
- Take natural steps to control pests so you don’t have to use chemical-heavy pest-management solutions.
- Give new paint, furniture, carpet, and fabric the sniff test before you buy them. If there’s a heavy chemical smell, the product is likely high in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- Avoid products that are enhanced with chemical fragrances, especially cleaning products, candles, air fresheners, and plug-in scents.
- Dial down your food waste. Food is the biggest component of solid waste in landfills, where it releases methane. Consider composting, which will save water and landfill space.
Speak Up In Your Community
- Ask your child’s school to use cleaning products that are certified and labeled as environmentally preferable.
- Ask local officials what they know about air pollution and what they’re doing to combat it.
- Write postcards to your elected representatives—and consider making it a monthly family activity—saying you’d like them to support environment-first legislation, such as bills that reduce air pollution and support green energy. You can also join the Moms Clean Air Force or the ALA’s Lung Action Network, both of which will alert you about legislation in your state that needs support.