Asthma Awareness Month event focuses on clean air legislatio

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Asthma Awareness Month event focuses on clean air legislatio

Postby Wilberforce » Mon May 21, 2012 6:34 pm

Asthma Awareness Month event focuses on clean air legislation
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1 hour ago • By MARY PICKETT
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Children with asthma are frequent visitors to hospitals and can become severely ill and even die from complications of the disease.

That was the message that Faith Worden, a certified nursing assistant, gave during an American Lung Association in Montana press conference Monday marking May as Asthma Awareness Month.

Not only has she cared for severely ill children with asthma at her job at St. Vincent Healthcare, Worden is the mother of 4-year-old son who has the disease.

Worden was one of several speakers at the gathering at the Montana State University Billings downtown campus.

The Clear Air Act, which was passed 40 years ago and updated two decades ago, has been a life saver for many.

“It’s the best public health legislation we ever passed,” said Carrie Nyssen, a regional official of the American Lung Association.

In 2010 alone, the act has prevented 130,000 heart attacks, 1.7 million asthma attacks and 86,000 visits the emergency room, Nyssen said.

Now several things might compromise the act or impede other measures from saving more lives.

Among them are:

-- The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act would prevent any future additions to the Clean Air Act. The U.S. House passed the act last year and it has not come before the U.S. Senate yet, said John Firehammer, a ALAM spokesman said.

-- The Congressional Review Act would scrap the Environmental Protection Agency’s new, more restrictive toxic air pollution standards for coal- and oil-fired coal plants, including those in Montana. The new standards were set because new technologies are available to more efficiently filter emissions, Firehammer said. Those standards are scheduled to go into effect over a period of several years.

-- The Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012 would put industry and economists in charge of emission standards instead of scientist and physicians.

The ALA also supports an EPA proposal to establish carbon pollution standards for new coal-fired power plants.

Worden spoke about difficulties that her son has had with asthma. Her son, who began having asthma symptoms when he was 12 weeks old, has had at least four surgeries and been hospitalized several times.

She has been denied day care because he is on medications and inhalers. A single mother, she has had difficulty working because she frequently must care for her son.

Asthma can continue into adulthood.

Carlene Gandara, now 60, began having trouble with asthma when she was a child growing up in Lame Deer. Her health has been so precarious that she has lived in Colstrip since 1980 so she can receive Indian Health Services coverage for asthma treatments.

As an adult, she has been on life support twice and hospitalized several times.

Many things can trigger her attacks, including extremes in temperature, rain, smoke from wood-burning stoves, spicy foods, dust and coal dust from coal-fired power plants.

Struggling to speak at times because of her asthma, Gandara said she takes several medicines, which create some side effects, including temporary diabetes.

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• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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