Mar 22, 2015

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Oregon is a beautiful place to live. As stewards of the its many resources, it's a priority to protect our environment, including the air. Healthy air for healthy lungs and breathing is a priority for the American Lung Association. We work for clean, healthy air in our communities for everyone to breathe, and we have more work to do. Our work continues today because air pollution still affects the lung health of Oregonians.

Most of us take breathing for granted. This isn’t the case for those suffering from lung diseases. For children with asthma and adults with respiratory diseases like COPD, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, each and every breath can be a struggle. Nearly 390,000 Oregonians suffer from asthma including 67,000 children. 466,000 Oregonians are at risk for serious lung conditions. We can and should do more to protect Oregonians from air pollution.

New research is shining a brighter light on the link between climate changing pollution and public health. Too much of the energy in Oregon comes from burning dirty, polluting fossil fuels like oil and coal. That’s why the American Lung Association supports Renew Oregon’s mission to transition to cleaner energy options.

The latest National Climate Assessment, with 300 scientists providing research— including Oregon State University’s Phil Mote-- identifies the devastating health consequences linked to uncontrolled carbon pollution. It’s making life for people with asthma and allergies unbearable and dangerous.  Longer wildfire seasons, higher pollen counts and increased ozone levels are threatening the well-being and lives of hundreds of thousands of Oregonians. Carbon pollution compromises air quality, increasing the incidence of heart attacks and driving up hospitalization rates.

Improving air quality is not just critical for those suffering from lung disease. Excessive exposure to pollutants contributes to increased rates of lung cancer, chronic respiratory disease, impaired lung development in children and cardiovascular disease. Children, the elderly and those with cardiovascular disease and diabetes are all vulnerable. Families living in poverty are also more vulnerable as  they are often live  near highways, factories, and other pollution sources.

Renew Oregon provides a path forward to reduce pollution while creating better and healthier energy alternatives. Cleaner air and cleaner energy is a win for Oregon’s lung health, our environment, and our families.

Carrie NyssenPresident & CEO at American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific