By: Samantha Schmitz, DC Field Events Coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: May 9, 2023
About: Healthy Homes Act
To: DC City Council
Hi, my name is Samantha Schmitz, and I live in Ward 1. I’m also the DC Field Events Coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force. Moms Clean Air Force is a community of over one million parents and caregivers nationwide and over 3,700 in DC alone. Our mission is to protect children from air pollution and climate change while fighting for justice in every breath. The DC Council has an opportunity to do just that by passing the Healthy Homes Act and supporting 30,000 low and middle-income homes in their transition to electrification.
Gas appliances fill our homes with many toxic pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and even formaldehyde which cause a wide range of respiratory problems and other dire health implications. Recently the 2023 State of the Air Report reported that over 75,000 DC residents suffer from asthma. And as someone that suffers from asthma myself, I feel strongly that the Healthy Homes Act is an important step to cleaning up both our indoor and outdoor air quality in DC in addition to cutting climate pollution, improving public health, and creating jobs.
Transitioning away from gas appliances is imperative to our transition to a just and equitable future as children that grow up in homes with gas appliances have a 42% increased risk of developing asthma. In fact, learning this statistic has made me question whether my own asthma diagnosis was due to the exposure I had to gas appliances throughout my own childhood.
After learning more about the harmful health effects of gas appliances this past fall, I chose to get the emissions from my gas stove tested. Unfortunately, that testing confirmed what I already suspected: there are high levels of harmful emissions coming from my gas stove that linger in my home long after I’m done cooking.
Being a renter like so many others in DC, I felt there was very little I could do to improve the air quality in my own home besides using my stove as little as possible, since I don’t have the ability to electrify my appliances myself. For many other renters and low to middle-income homeowners in DC, the Healthy Homes Act would provide the necessary support to electrify their homes while also supporting our entire DC community by cutting climate-harming emissions.
The public health, children’s health, and environmental justice implications of the proposed Healthy Homes Act are vast but this is just a first step in our city’s electrification journey. Please continue to develop legislation that promotes the equitable transition of our community away from harmful fossil fuels and take immediate action by supporting the Healthy Homes Act today. Thank you for your time.