Famous Moms Support Clean Air Standards to Protect Kids' Health
This week, championship boxer and mother Laila Ali joined a host of other famous moms, including Julianne Moore, Jessica Capshaw, Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph, by launching a new PSA for Moms Clean Air Force, calling on moms to unite in support of clean air standards and practices.
Air pollution is among the leading causes of childhood asthma, which disproportionally affects African American children. Environmental factors and toxins also contribute to lead poisoning, childhood cancer and other chronic conditions, including intellectual disabilities and autism. Healthcare for these conditions costs the U.S. billions of dollars every year.
“My life changed so much when I became a mother,” said Ali. “I speak out on air pollution because I feel like there are so many kids right now that are affected and it is really sad. You usually go to the schools now and so many kids in the classroom have asthma—way more than there were when I was a child. Air pollution is the chief culprit of childhood asthma. And it affects 10 percent of all children and 22 percent of African American children.”
According to studies supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly two thirds of those suffering from asthma live in an area where at least one federal air-quality standard is not being met. Asthma prevalence is 35 percent higher in African Americans, and African American children have a 500 percent higher death rate from asthma compared to white children. Sixty-eight percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, the distance within which the maximum ill effects of the emissions from smokestacks occur, while only 56 percent of whites live within the most effected areas.
Studies also show that increased levels of air pollution cause more frequent asthma symptoms and lower lung function in children, particularly in inner cities. Nitrogen dioxide, a common component in car emissions, is the leading asthma trigger.