AUGUST 21, 2018, VIENNA, VIRGINIA — Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading national nonprofit advocating for the more than 50 million Americans with allergies and 24 million with asthma – 6 million of whom are children. As a voice for patients and parents, we are concerned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of the proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule to replace the Clean Power Plan, which established emission guidelines for states to follow in limiting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from certain fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Asthma remains one of the most serious chronic diseases and costly health issues (at $80 billion annually) in our nation. Approximately 3,600 Americans die each year due to asthma. The disease has a greater impact on our most vulnerable populations, including children and older adults as well as those living with lung disease.

Populations that are low-income and some racial and ethnic groups also have a higher rate of diagnosed asthma, increased hospitalizations and deaths. Among the reasons: they live and/or work within close proximity to major sources of harmful air pollution, causing or worsening their asthma. Asthma is the leading cause of school absences, with 13.8 million missed school days per year by students in the United States, and it causes 14.2 million missed work days per year by parents and adult patients. It also results in lost productivity and limited physical activity.

The federal government needs to protect public health and the environment. Poor air quality can make it difficult to breathe and cause great harm to those who already live with chronic respiratory conditions. Reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases is necessary in our country as ozone and particulate matter can trigger potentially life-threatening asthma flares. This proposed EPA rule threatens the health of millions of Americans with chronic respiratory conditions by significantly increasing the risk of more hazardous air pollutants.

Allergy & Asthma Network strongly opposes this proposal and urges EPA to reject it in order to protect the health of Americans, particularly those with chronic respiratory conditions.