By: Elizabeth Hauptman, Michigan field organizer, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: September 1, 2020
About: Environmental Protection Agency Review of NAAQS for Ozone Docket ID No. EPA-HQOAR-2018-0279
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Hello, I am Elizabeth Hauptman, a field consultant with Moms Clean Air Force. I live in Brighton, Michigan. We are group of over one million moms and dads fighting for clean air and climate for the sake of our children’s health and future. Moms Clean Air Force Michigan has over 29,000 members dedicated to the health and safety of the children here in our state.
First, I would like to thank the EPA for taking my testimony today. There is strong scientific evidence that low levels of ozone pollution are dangerous for little lungs, even at levels below the current standards. The EPA plans to ignore data and science and keep the current standards. This is a betrayal to moms and their children in Michigan. The fact is ozone has shown to contribute to the following: shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and asthma attacks. It can send children like my son and niece to the ER. As a mom with a son and niece who have asthma, I can say that this proposal would put the health of Michigan’s 254,583 kids with asthma at risk—not to mention the thousands of others whose health is tied to the quality of the air they breathe. This proposal means more asthma attacks, missed school days, missed family outdoor activities, and an increased burden on our already strained heath care system. EPA’s refusal to protect children from ozone pollution, making them more vulnerable to severe illness, especially during a respiratory disease pandemic, is just deeply troubling.
I want to tell you a little bit more about our family routine to protect our son. It has become my routine to check the air quality index on the mornings we do outings together. Sadly, on days when the air quality index is poor, we know it is going to be a tough day for our son. We always need to remember to bring his inhaler wherever we go, and when his inhaler is not effective, we need to use his nebulizer, or as we call it, his Darth Vader mask. After summer camps, outdoor basketball games, and family BBQs in the past few years, during some of the hottest and worst air quality days, we have rushed home for his nebulizer treatments. My son misses out on sporting events, camps, barbecues, and other fun activities on hot summer days when the air quality is poor.
The idea that the current standards may not be protecting him, and that Administrator Wheeler is basically shrugging his shoulders at that, is unacceptable to me as a mom. Declining to strengthen these standards is a major setback for asthmatic children and other vulnerable populations. I urge the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone Pollution in order to protect public health. Our children’s health and future depends on it. Thank you again for the opportunity to testify.