EPA Listening Sessions: My Asthma Story

BY ON May 15, 2013

Jennifer McIntyre headshotThis was written by Jennifer McIntyre, MCAF’s Pennsylvania Field Manager:

First, I thank the EPA for holding these listening sessions and giving regular people, regular parents, a chance to air our deepest concerns about our children’s future. I am here today on the behalf of my two young daughter’s, Lily and Frances. Lily has asthma and must travel with a freezer bag stuffed with prescription medications and an electric nebulizer in the event of a flare up. She was diagnosed with asthma at 8 months of age and is now 9 years old. After her diagnosis, we began to educate ourselves about air quality in Philadelphia and, like most regular people, were shocked to learn how much toxic pollution is in a simple breath of air.

Too often, my girls see me with a furrowed brow or biting a nail, worrying and planning for the calamitous future predicted by research findings that I see on the news and read in the daily paper more and more frequently. I took note when recently, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article detailing how climate change and subsequent sea level rise would affect the different neighborhoods in Philadelphia. I do feel grateful that I am lucky enough to live on high ground in the city — from the mapping it looks like our house could stand several decades longer than those in center city. But so many of my favorite places would be submerged in my children’s lifetime if we do not act to limit carbon pollution. So many thousands of family homes will be uninhabitable. This very building would be uninhabitable given its location.

Our most gifted scientific minds have been sounding this alarm for decades. While I am truly heartened that the EPA is moving toward strong carbon standards, I worry that industry voices more powerful than mine, will drown out this call to action. I feel certain that, like other environmental and public health calamities narrowly averted by well informed public outcry, even the most anti regulation of us will look back and say, “What were we thinking?” and “How could the United Sates of America have no limits on carbon pollution?”

As a mom, I run a pretty tight ship. I don’t tolerate a lot of excuses unless my kids have really, really good reasons. So when I hear excuses from the industry about how hard it will be to not pollute the air, I just lose all patience. The EPA should move forward aggressively with a strong standard that addresses climate change and protects public health. I hope we have the courage to tell polluters, just like we would tell our kids, “clean up your mess — and keep it clean.” No laziness. No excuses.


TOPICS: Asthma, Carbon Pollution, Clean Air Rules and Regulations, EPA, Pennsylvania