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Elaine and son Chandler

Thanks to President Obama's support for clean air standards, families all across America will soon breathe easier. The Mercury and Air Toxics standard will save as many as 11,000 lives each year and prevent 130,000 asthma attacks. NRDC spoke with several families who struggle with asthma, a condition that air pollution frequently makes worse.

Preventing big polluters from dumping mercury and other toxic chemicals into the air protects vulnerable children and their families -- like Julius, a 12-year-old child who had to be rushed to the emergency room during a school field trip when polluted air triggered an asthma attack. Julius describes his asthma as feeling like "being pushed into a locker." Kim lives in fear of not being with Julius during an attack.

Kim and her family talked with us about dealing with asthma and air pollution.

Meet Kim and her son Julius from Detroit, Michigan

Read more about Kim and Julius.


Meet Elaine and her son Chandler from Pittsburgh, PA

Elaine and son Chandler

Elaine is foster care mother to a teenage son with Autism and a 12-year-old biological son, Chandler, who has debilitating asthma. Elaine and her husband have experienced periods when they have to rush Chandler to the emergency room every three weeks. Chandler says, "It's like trying to breathe through a straw that's closed." Elaine sees rampant asthma in the children of her community and very few who can afford the necessary medications.

Watch the video of Chandler's story or read more about them.


Meet Eileen and her son Daniel from Pittsburgh, PA

Eileen and her son Daniel

Eileen's 12-year-old son Daniel almost died from an asthma attack "that left his chest so tight he wasn't even wheezing." Daniel's growth has slowed due to the medications, which are so costly that the family has had to greatly alter their lifestyle in order to afford them. Eileen has to keep the windows of their home closed on most warm days due to the air quality and its impact on Daniel's lungs.

Watch the video of Daniel's story or read more about them.


Meet Amy from Detroit, Michigan

Amy and her 10-year-old son, mother and grandmother all suffer from asthma. Her grandmother died with a nebulizer in her hand. Her mother has had breast cancer, kidney cancer and lymphoma, and beat them all, but "It's the asthma that's killing her." As a child, Amy missed over 180 days of primary school due to asthma attacks. She spends between $10-15,000 a year out of pocket on asthma medications and treatment.

Read more about Amy's family.

last revised 1/27/2012

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