I went to Washington, DC to participate in EPA’s public hearing on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone. Here is the testimony I delivered:
Good afternoon, my name is Ronnie Citron-Fink. I’ve traveled from New York to speak as a mom, a teacher, and a representative for Moms Clean Air Force — a community of over 400,000 parents who believe children are the biggest stakeholders in the fight for clean air.
I meet many parents, and overwhelmingly, I hear a resounding, “Nobody wants sick kids who can’t breathe.”
When we started MCAF almost four years ago, I felt similar — I would do anything to keep my family healthy. Since then, I’ve delved deep into stacks and stacks of clean air reports, regulations, and cost analysis associated with childhood asthma, lung disease, cancer, infant mortality, and I’ve kept a close eye on the insane politics of those who seek to block clean air progress by putting powerful industry over people.
It was almost enough to leave me paralyzed with parental fear.
But knowing that our children are the human-toll of air pollution, I couldn’t ignore the science. Paul Billings, a senior vice president of the American Lung Association says, “Ozone is the most pervasive and widespread pollutant in the country,” and William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies adds, “Ozone is not only killing people, but causing tens of millions of people to get sick every day”
So what’s a parent to do?
We look to our leaders in Washington to do what’s right because, well frankly, nobody wants sick kids who can’t breathe. And when nearly one in every 10 schoolchildren in our country has asthma, we have a serious breathing problem. On the EPA website it states, “Children are at greatest risk from exposure to ozone because their lungs are still developing and they are more likely to be active outdoors when ozone levels are high, which increases their exposure.”
Not only does smog contribute heavily to asthma and other respiratory illnesses, hundreds of thousands of otherwise avoidable hospitalizations and emergency room visits could be eliminated with stronger ozone regulation. This would save parents from taking time off from work, which in turn, saves money…and most importantly, peace of mind…because no parent wants to see their child gasping for life-sustaining clean air.
The proposed new standard would reduce the level of allowable ozone in the atmosphere from the current 75 parts per billion — a weak standard in place since 2008 — to a range of 65 and 70 parts per billion. It is a critical that the EPA move forward and set the smog standard at 60 parts per billion – which is more stringent than the proposed standard.
Please take the burden of getting sick from smog pollution off our kids backs and put it where it belongs – in the hands of regulating an industry that must be held accountable for polluting America’s citizens.
Let’s set an example to the rest of the world that we value and protect what is most important — our precious children.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify.