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I don’t have asthma.  My son, when he was a kid, had what the Doctor called “exertional asthma” – when he was practicing his TaeKwonDo too much or too long, he wheezed a bit.  He had an inhaler, he used it a few times but when he stopped competing, he never needed it again.  Although, when he was sitting through a few Iraq windstorms, he remembered that feeling of not being able to catch his breath.   When I had an allergy attack in Italy from eating some mussels – I hated the feeling of not being able to breathe; I was terrified!

Now imagine feeling that daily, or being a mom watching your child struggling to breathe.  I cannot imagine that hopeless helpless feeling.

One of the triggers for asthma – particulates or other irritants in the air.  For some folks, it’s pollen and control of that can be assisted by antihistamines or other allergy medications.  For some sufferers, it’s dust/dirt in the air; and for many children it is the pollution being discharged into the air by major polluters that include power plants.   According to a recent study by the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and NASN:

Science has established that air pollution from cars, factories, and power plants is among the major causes of asthma episodes. Air pollutants that can contribute to asthma include ground-level ozone smog, sulfur dioxide, particle pollution, and nitrogen oxides. Carbon pollution can also worsen asthma in several ways, such as by driving climate change (rising temperatures increase ozone smog concentrations) and by increasing production of airborne allergens like ragweed pollen (which is another trigger for asthma episodes).  http://www.noharm.org/lib/downloads/climate/Economic_Affliction_of_Asthma.pdf

 

Children who live in areas of poverty are more in danger of pollution related illnesses, and that includes asthma.  Since many Latino children live in poverty, they also live with these diseases – including asthma.  Latino children are 60 percent more at risk for asthma than white kids.   Moms Clean Air Force is having an informational event – The Asthma Epidemic Among Latino Kids and What Moms Can Do About It.  http://asthmaandlatinokids.eventbrite.com/

Join the discussion, learn what we can do together, what we can do if we all raise our voices together.

KESF

photo from flickr.com

 

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Moms Clean Airforce is presenting a blog talk radio discussion this Friday.  We’ll be talking about Asthma – this time of Latino children, who have a higher risk for asthma than other kids in our country.  The link will take you to the event invitation and how to join in.

http://asthmaandlatinokids.eventbrite.com/

Moderator: Ana Roca-Castro, Founder of LATISM

With Chris Espinosa, National Director of Advocacy at the Hispanic Federation; Dr. Evelyn Montalvo, Pediatric Pulmonologist; and Steph’s mom, Lydia Rojas

 

Asthma is an issue of social justice. With 66 percent of Latinos in the United States living in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards, Latino children are 60 percent more at risk for asthma than white children. When these children grow into adults, they are three times as likely as whites to die from asthma. Particulate pollution emitted by power plants over poorer neighborhoods  – over school buildings and playgrounds were children spend their days – triggers and aggravates asthma, which translates into missed days of work and school, visits to the emergency room, and greater exposure to dangerous and expensive health issues. This blog radio discussion will look at the connection between coal pollution and asthma, the connection between asthma and race, differences in health care given to suffering children, and what parents can do.



About the Moms Clean Air Force

The Moms Clean Air Force is a growing community of moms, dads and others, from all walks of life, who are defending clean air for the sake of our children’s health.


Please Join Us – Your Kids Need You to Stand Up for Their Health and Future

  • Join the Force by signing up on our website, http://www.momscleanairforce.org, so we can keep you up‐to‐date on policy developments, invite you to MCAF events, and let you know when speaking up is most critical.
  • Join the Force by sharing your thoughts and opinions. Submit a guest blog post to MomsCAF@gmail.com about why clean air matters to YOU.
  • Join the Force by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter (@MomsCAF).
  • Join the Force by taking action. Write the EPA and tell them why you support the new proposed Mercury and Air Toxic Standards.

We can protect our families by making sure that Congress hears our collective voice!

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Three days left to speak out; three days left to make our voices heard.  Three days!  Three days to support the EPA.  Three days to support Clean Air for our kids, three days to call our representatives, three days to demand they support our right to breathe clean air.

The coal fired plants that are working overtime this summer because of the heat wave and demands for airconditioning are spewing out more and more pollutants.  We all want to stay cool, after all, this summer has been brutal!  We all want our TV on, our computer on, the fridge needs to make icecubes for that lemonade, we want to be comfortable.  We know how we can save money and electricity – we turn up the thermostat and open the windows on a cool morning; we turn off lights when we leave the room; use compact fluorescent bulbs…. Now we expect the power plant companies to do their part.

They haven’t.  Many of the plants are still fighting any regulation of their emissions.  The coal companies have been spending tons of money on lobbying to stop the new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards – millions and millions of dollars.  Millions and millions of dollars against the power of the voice, the power of the voices of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, who are calling their representatives and telling them to support the new regulations.  Who do you think will win?

Our voices, speaking together are louder than even the rustle of the cash.  Our voices, speaking together, remind our elected officials that we are the ones who elect them.  Our voices, speaking together – are able to make a difference.

Won’t you join us?  Write to the EPA, tell them you support the new limits.  The more they hear, the more people they can point to when they go in front of Congress, the more people they can prove the support the limits have.  Here’s the link ,

 Join Mom’s Clean Air Force  Together our voices can make a difference.

Photograph of Coal train from http://www.pbase.com/image/35329852

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Today is the 2nd PTSD Awareness Day. I didn’t know there WAS such a thing, until I checked a site I go to periodically. I remember when these conflicts started PTS (I don’t use the D, I’ve had friends and family ask me not to use it, they aren’t “disordered”!) wasn’t even an acronym in our lexicon.  I remember the terrible stories out of Ft. Carson and Hood, Bragg and Benning, about the servicemembers who were suffering from anger outbursts, the murder suicides of families, the depressions and the stories of self-medicating drunken stupors.  I remember reading about various military hospitals and commands who were frantically trying to re classify soldiers as having a pre-existing condition and releasing them with “other than honorable” discharges. I remember hearing from a family member of his experience, being handed a huge bottle of Prozac and told to come back when it was empty – no counseling offered.

What a change a few years makes.  Gen. Chiarelli talks about PTS, TBI and suicides every chance he gets; high ranking officers and NCOs talk frankly about their own PTS and how they sought help and got it.  They are trying really hard to do away with the stigma, and make the seeking of help for a mental health condition into a right and strong thing to do.  That’s a huge change!

We keep hearing about resiliency training, about new therapies from acupuncture to canines (hey, what about felines!), cognitive therapy, exercise, yoga, meditation, counseling – every week there is another study.  You and I know people with such a diagnosis – I’ve seen huge strides being made, but I know that there is much more to be done.  I’m encouraged that the treatments include not only the soldier, but also the family!

So, to paraphrase Rep. Moran, it’s great that there is such a day… but maybe it isn’t.  I wish we didn’t need this, I wish we weren’t confronting this every day.  But I am glad we aren’t hiding it anymore, that our community has realized that sweeping it under the rug and tossing out those injured in this way is not the right thing to do.

KESF

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I was chatting on Facebook with a dear friend of ours, who arrived in Afghanistan a week or so ago. He’s always been an optimist, a smiling presence always trying to cheer everyone up. This is not his first time downrange, he’s been deployed before including with Chief in Iraq.

His Facebook chat reflected this optimism – the realization that he’s not in a great place, but he’s going to put a positive spin on it. He told me how horrendously hot it was, but not as a complaint, just as a fact. But then he came up with:

The President has decided to bring back thousands of troops now that I have arrived! That is confidence! I have even started working out and running this morning in anticipation of our victory parade.

So if you are wondering about the morale of the men and women downrange – I can tell you that for one group of Guardsmen… it’s pretty positive!

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I’ve been gone for 10 days – and stepped out of my blogging/facebook/email life for most of that time. Taking a break from my connections was interesting! No, I didn’t go cold turkey, I had my blackberry! But very little blogging, and very little Facebook posting. I wondered if anyone noticed, but I did get a few friends asking if I was alright.

Oh, I was more than alright. I flew out west to pick up the best grand daughter in the world and fly with her to my parent’s house in Florida – my dad turned 90! Flights with a 5 year old are interesting, especially when she says I don’t want to fly anymore – sweetie, we are over Kansas right now and can’t get out. Spending time with them, and afterwards spending time decorating her new room with butterflies and pink – was wonderful! I need to thank the other grandma, Deb, for letting me monopolize her for 10 days, and to the wonderful boxing trainer for coming in to train our granddaughter so I could film it for everyone.

But I realized how much I depend on you all. With the deployment beginning, with Chief away training preparatory to heading downrange, I know that you are going to be my company, my shoulders to lean on and the ones who will make me laugh, make me think, keep me on my toes and able to relax at the same time. My new hobbies and my business will keep me busy. BUT – and this is important – I also realized how much of my life is online, is dependent on the “interwebz” and those who hang out here with me. That was reinforced this week when one of my “imaginary friends” as Chief calls my online buddies came and stayed for a couple of days. We sat and talked, we’ve known each other online for years, but only met physically a few months ago. We speak the same language, we don’t have to explain much to each other (except to translate Navy to Army speak!)

We speak the same language, we understand the stages of deployment and reintegration…we understand how we feel and how the other spouse is coping, we reach out to each other, give a shoulder and an ear to each other.

Thanks for being here, for being there; thank you for supporting and comforting me and others.

KESF

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Actually, here in Florida – it’s smoke in your nose, the patio furniture, the wet bathing suits hanging by the pool. Visiting my parents in Florida, the wild fires in the area are permeating the air with the smell of smoke, the haze in the air. I asked where the fires were, thinking that the local national forest might be burning again. Her nonchalant answer – oh over in the Flagler area, which is over 70 miles away reminded me that the wind does carry more than the scent of cut grass from the green outside their back yard; the sweetness of the jasmine hedge, or the good healthy barn smells when you pass the horse farm down the road. This threat is palpable, the elderly are told to stay indoors and those with compromised breathing should also stay indoors, or take their inhaler with them.

How would I feel if this area wasn’t downwind of a forest fire, but of a coal fired power plant? If the smell of smoke wasn’t the pollutant, but the particulate matter laden with mercury that drifts downwind of a power plant. The thin coating of soot that smears the patio furniture is from burning trees, and grasses; not laden with arsenic or mercury or other heavy metals, but what if it was? The phosphate problem in their pool is caused by the drift of fertilizers from the area, deposited on the screen enclosure and then deposited in the pool when it rains. What if it was mercury, as is happening to the Great Lakes and other lakes in the US?

Think about it, in many areas of the country, rain is bringing not only lifesaving water, but also deadly toxins into our water. The fish in these lakes are unsafe for pregnant women and small children – even though fish is commonly perceived as good for us.

There is a hearing:

– WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8, 2011
Hearing on air quality and children’s health  Senate Environment and Public Works
10:00 AM, 406 Dirksen
Witnesses: James Ginda, supervisor of respiratory care, Kent Hospital; Julie Goodman, principal, Gradient; Patty Resnik, corporate director, Christiana Care Health System; Margo Thorning, senior vice president, American Council for Capital Formation; and Dona Upson, board member, American Lung Association of New Mexico.

Call your Senator or send them an email.  Moms Clean Air Force has a quick and easy one for you to copy and send.

Dear Sen. So-and-So
Thank you for holding a hearing on Air Quality and Children’s Health. As a parent, this is a very important issue to me. I joined the Moms Clean Air Force because I was worried about the harm that toxic air pollution might be doing to my children’s health and well-being. I look forward to watching the hearing and learning more about this issue, and about your position.
Sincerely,
Your Name Here
Can you do this for our kids?  for their continuing health.   Thanks!
KESF

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