Statement for the Record from Mark Magaña President of GreenLatinos

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DiJptvqGHKMXuCxXSMHfdJh-K5NW8QPfQ0AkYaawPw8/pub

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        

January 29th, 2015    

 

Media Contact: Mark Magaña, GreenLatinos, markmagana@greenlatinos.org or 202-230-2070

 

GreenLatinos make their presence felt on the issue of

Ozone Pollution in the Air.

GreenLatios are united in their concern for better air to breath, urging the EPA to adopt the lowest possible smog pollution standard as soon as possible.

WASHINGTON D.C. – GreenLatinos welcomes the opportunity to submit a statement on the record on reducing the acceptable level of ozone pollution in the air we breath.  The level of smog affects the quality life of Latino children and families nationwide, since Latinos are more likely to live in counties that consistently violate clear air standards.  The issue of our children’s health and the health of our environment is a topic of great concern for our community, including concerned citizens, local leaders and environmental advocates, who are testifying and writing to the EPA to strengthen the smog pollution standard.

 

In 2008 the smog standard was updated to 75 parts per billion (ppb), which is now known to be inadequate to provide a healthy environment.  Ozone pollution is known to cause or exacerbate health problems among the most vulnerable in our communities, such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. EPA has the authority, the science and the moral imperative to lower the standard to 60 ppb now to protect the health and the environment of our children, our families and our communities.

 

Mark Magaña, President, GreenLatinos, released the following statement on the EPA Ozone Pollution Standard:

 

Growing up in Los Angeles, we were exposed to many natural disasters; wildfires, earthquakes, floods, mudslides, severe storms, but the worst natural disasters for me were the days that we couldn't go out and play because of an unhealthy or harmful air quality index warning.

 

For a child to be told that they shouldn't go out and play because of dangerous air quality levels -- a high level of smog -- is a societal shame, but for me it just became the new normal.

 

The days that we could go out and play, especially the days that I would go out and play soccer, I remember coming home and often crashing on the bed gasping for air through my nose.  I remember vomiting in search of relief, this is a horrible consequence of a child going out to play, but for me it just became the new normal.

 

My best friend and next door neighbor used to have to bring his asthma inhaler with him wherever he went out to play and I remember hearing him wheeze and witnessing him having to pull his inhaler out to help him breath.  A child should not have to carry around an inhaler to be able to breath, but to him this just became the new normal.

 

Now I have two children, my oldest daughter is two years old and I feel a cold sweat when I hear her have a coughing fit, vomiting up what little she has in her stomach for relief.  I purchase air purifiers for every room in the house and filters for every air vent.  It may have nothing to do with the air quality, but it may, and my wife and I shouldn't live in fear reading about declining air quality and the rapid growth in asthma rates among children.  I fear that for her and children of her generation, air pollution, asthma, and lung disease, could just become her new normal but that is unacceptable when the Administration has an opportunity to do better, for many children like mine.  

 

That is why I write this statement today.

 

I refuse to accept that smog pollution is just something that we must accept. I refuse to believe that this has to be my children's new normal.

 

A 60 ppb standard would be a step forward, it would follow science and it would protect our children and their growing bodies and lungs even more susceptible to ozone pollution.  This 60 ppb standard would start us on the road to cleaner air so that our children would be able to go out and play without parents having to worry what breathing in outside air is doing to their bodies and health. With this new standard we have the opportunity to make healthy, safe, clean air the new normal for our children and for generations to come.

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