The Clean Air Act, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is responsible for reducing air pollution in much of the nation and saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Despite this public health success, climate change poses new challenges to protecting the nation’s air quality because it makes air pollution worse, placing the health of South Carolinians at risk. To drive collective action on climate change and air pollution, today the American Lung Association launched the Stand Up For Clean Air initiative, encouraging everyone to sign the pledge at Lung.org/air to take small, individual actions that can add up to a big, collective difference.
The American Lung Association has long been a leader in protecting the public health from climate change and air pollution. Through the new Stand Up For Clean Air initiative, the organization is highlighting how anyone can make a difference with large and small actions. Some examples include reducing energy use in the home and bicycling, to spreading the word and calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set more protective air pollution standards.
“The health impacts of climate change are more apparent than ever before, as climate change is degrading air quality and harming health today,” said American Lung Association Senior Director of Advocacy, June Deen. “Clean air is essential to health. Air pollution causes asthma attacks, heart attacks and even premature death. Emerging research has found exposure to even a small increase in particle pollution over the long term makes a person more likely to die from COVID-19. Air pollution poses a threat to the health of our residents, and that’s why the American Lung Association is asking everyone to pledge to stand up for clean air.”
The American Lung Association’s 2020 “State of the Air” report revealed that nearly half of Americans are living with unhealthy air. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, lung disease flare-ups, coughing and wheezing; and can cause heart attacks and stroke, developmental and reproductive harm, lung cancer and even early death. Everyone is at risk from breathing air pollution – but some groups are more vulnerable, including children, older adults, and children with asthma.
Climate change jeopardizes the lives and lung health of Americans by fueling record-breaking heat, wildfires, super storms and floods. These worsening climate trends contribute to harmful smoke, mold, polluted floodwater residue and other damage, exposing people to indoor air pollution as they clean up and repair homes. Power plants, oil and gas operations, and cars and trucks also produce air pollution that is directly harmful to lung health.
“Even if you’ve never considered your part in addressing climate change and air pollution, now is everyone’s chance to make a difference. It’s not too late, and every action counts,” Deen said. “Stand Up For Clean Air empowers everyone to make small changes in their lives that will add up to a big collective difference. I hope you’ll join the American Lung Association in its vision of a world free of lung disease.”
Learn more about Stand Up For Clean Air at Lung.org/air.