A lot of people in Massachusetts suffer from asthma, the disease that makes it hard to breathe, sends kids gasping for breath to the emergency room and can saddle families with huge medical bills. In fact, estimates from the American Lung Association are that over 130,000 kids and nearly 500,000 adults in Massachusetts suffer from asthma.*
One of the things that makes asthma worse is air pollution, specifically smog, and one of the things that makes it harder to reduce smog is carbon pollution.In fact, as my colleague Kim Knowlton has explained, rising temperatures driven by carbon pollution can actually make smog - and thus kids' health - worse.
Given all that, you might wonder why Massachusett's own Senator Scott Brown is telling constituents that he doesn't think the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should update public health protections to limit the amount of carbon that polluters can dump into the air. Right now, there are NO limits for life-threatening carbon pollution.
So today, Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment Massachusetts are teaming up to let Massachusetts residents know that:
“… (Senator Brown’s) actions threaten the health of hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents, especially children with asthma and seniors.
Brown has expressed support for congressional efforts to block EPA from limiting carbon dioxide pollution. Carbon dioxide pollution increases the risk of heat stress, promotes the spread of infectious diseases and makes it more difficult to reduce smog pollution, which threatens the health of asthma sufferers and others with respiratory problems.”
Check out the radio ad that NRDC and Environment Massachusetts are running on Bay State radio stations this week.The text of the radio spot is as follows:
"For 40 years, the U.S. EPA has protected the health of all Americans by cracking down on big polluters and the life-threatening pollution they pour into our air. But now Senator Scott Brown wants to cripple the EPA when it comes to protecting us from carbon dioxide, by letting big polluters dump unlimited amounts into our air. Please call Scott Brown at 202-224-4543 and ask him why he's putting corporate polluters and their profits ahead of the health of our families. Paid for by NRDC."
We think Massachusetts residents (and the rest of us) deserve better. We all know that big polluters don't want the EPA to do its job. Some of them have given generously to Senator Brown - during his 2010 campaign, energy and natural resources sent nearly $150,000 to the Brown campaign. I'm not suggesting the Senator Brown is trying to cripple the EPA just because polluters funded his campaign. But they did help put him in office, and its what he does there that counts.
Senator Brown needs to hear from folks back home that he should stand up for clean air and public health, instead of standing up for polluters.
NOTE: the asthma figures originally provided in this post were incorrect. The post now provides the correct figures.