Environmental group says study links smog and child asthma

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childhood asthmaBALTIMORE - New findings show Maryland’s children are among the most likely in the country to have asthma, and the state’s high levels of air pollution only make their problems worse.

The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that Maryland is tied with Oklahoma for the third-highest level of childhood asthma in the nation, among the 37 states that had information available.

About 11 percent of the state’s children had asthma in 2005, says “The State of Childhood Asthma” report.

Children with asthma miss school, are sent to the hospital and can die from struggling to breathe, states the report, which was released last week.

And Maryland’s air pollution exacerbates the problem, said Valerie Nozea, a respiratory therapist and director of program services for the American Lung Association of Maryland.

“We find children who live in areas with more air pollution have a higher rate of asthma attacks,” Nozea said.

The Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area was ranked the 12th most ozone-polluted area in the nation this year by the American Lung Association.

“This is not the same kind of concern as climate change. This is the pollution that is affecting public health right now,” said Janice Nolen, spokeswoman for the American Lung Association.

The state legislature should enact the Clean Cars Program this year, in order to clean the air for its children, said Joshua Tulkin, organizing director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a group that advocates for global warming awareness.

The program is already in effect in 11 states. It would require car dealerships to sell more cars that use advanced technology, such as hybrids. The program would also tighten emissions standards for new cars.

source - Examiner