This was written by Moms Clean Air Force Texas State Coordinator, Erandi Treviño:
I live with my family in Houston — a city known to have poor air quality, thanks to the Houston Ship Channel plus the many refineries, industrial facilities, and highways in this region. Houston doesn’t have zoning laws, so an excessive number of heavy-duty trucks surrounds my home. My family’s health suffers because of where we live.
Air pollution from trucks is a major public health problem. It can cause or exacerbate asthma, lung infections, heart attacks, stroke, premature death, low birth weight, and cancer. And people of color and those with lower incomes are more likely to live near truck routes.
Back in March, EPA proposed an important rule to reduce tailpipe pollution from heavy-duty trucks. But this rule doesn’t go far enough to protect families, like mine, that live with unhealthy air.
My house in Houston sits immediately next to a large 18-wheeler parking lot on one side. On the other side, there is a demolition company and, on the other, a crate company. The fourth side is a small road that sees a lot of movement from heavy-duty trucks all day long. Every day, I hear the trucks driving around and idling. Some days, they kick a big wave of dust over our home.
When I bought this house, I felt proud. An immigrant Latina buying a house — with a pool no less! I had made it. Now that accomplishment gives me fear for the health of my family.
As the EcoMadres state coordinator for Texas, I speak out on behalf of those who are most affected by air pollution, and I work with community members to help them advocate for their children. But the truth is I am also speaking up for myself and my family.
My home is multigenerational. My youngest niece is three, and she has severe allergies and breathing problems that sometimes disrupt her sleep. My eight-year-old niece has eczema and anxiety about extreme weather. My mother and I both have fibromyalgia. We often experience shortness of breath and heavy pressure on our chests.
Of course, with these health issues, I’ve considered moving elsewhere. But that can’t be the answer, because more than 40% of Americans — over 135 million people — live in places with unhealthy levels of air pollution. Moving is not the solution. We have to address the root of the problem.
EPA is in a position to do just that — get to the root of this problem.