Virginians should be proactive in reducing children’s risk to asthma attacks

Published 9:38 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

To the Editor:

Michael Barton’s comments in “New Ozone rules will devastate American economy” (5/27/2015) miss the mark on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ozone standards. EPA’s actions are not part of a plan to punish businesses. They are mandatory under the Clean Air Act, which requires that EPA protect public health. Barton’s interpretation would jeopardize the health of the 2,100 children of Franklin, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County who suffer from asthma.

Ozone kills. Exposure is linked to worsened asthma and COPD symptoms, and even premature death. Have you ever seen a child have an asthma attack? Have you ever seen their lips tinge blue and panic set in as they fight to get in a full breath of air but can’t? As someone who has struggled her entire life with asthma, it’s something I experienced firsthand growing up. No child should have to suffer like I did.

As a community, as Virginians, we should be taking proactive steps to decrease children’s risk of experiencing asthma attacks, including advocating for the most current science to dictate what is considered safe levels of ozone to breathe. That science has concluded that a more protective ozone standard, like the standard mentioned in Mr. Barton’s comments, is what is necessary to better protect our kids and our community members.

Does protecting the health and safety of our children and loved ones sound unnecessary to you?

Jennifer Kaufer
The American Lung

Association in Virginia