On World Asthma Day, Sierra Club Launches Smog Pollution Text Alert System for 2015

Bilingual Product Sends Alerts on Bad Air Days to Help Reduce Asthma Attacks Triggered by Smog Pollution

Users can sign-up online at sc.org/airalert or simply by texting AIRALERTS to 69866.

WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)–May 5, 2015.  Today, the Sierra Club launched its free smog pollution text alert system for 2015, which notifies mobile phone users through a text message when local air is unsafe to breathe. Available in both English and Spanish, the system was launched in recognition of World Asthma Day (May 5) and Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month (beginning May 1) in an effort to help American families avoid asthma attacks triggered by smog pollution and bad air days.   

“While many families are looking forward to spending time outdoors this spring and summer, there are millions of Americans dreading the dangerous, and sometimes deadly, smog pollution that can trigger asthma attacks,” said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “Our hope is that this text alert system helps parents better protect their kids by alerting them when the air outside is unsafe to breathe. The system also allows families to send a message to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in support of stronger smog pollution protections that will cut down on the number of bad air days.  

According to pulmonologists, inhaling smog pollution is like getting a sunburn on your lungs and often results in immediate breathing trouble. Long term exposure to smog pollution is linked to chronic asthma and other respiratory and lung diseases, reproductive and developmental harm, and even premature death. Children are at the greatest health risk from smog pollution because they are more likely to be active outdoors and their lungs are still developing.

“Sadly, these air pollution text alerts may be coming early and often for too many Americans. More than forty percent of Americans are living in areas where the air can be unsafe to breathe,” Hitt said. “It’s even worse for low-income communities and communities of color, who are disproportionately exposed to dangerously dirty air. African American children are more likely to live in counties with bad smog pollution, have nearly two times the rates of current asthma as white children, and are four times as likely to die from it. This should be a wake up call for the EPA and White House to do more to alleviate this chronic health burden that adversely impacts some of our most vulnerable communities.”   

In order to best protect children and other vulnerable communities, leading medical experts and scientists – as well as prominent public health organizations like the American Lung Association, the American Thoracic Society, the American Heart Association, the American Public Health Association and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America – have called on the Administration to strengthen the current smog pollution protections to no higher than 60 parts per billion (ppb). EPA is expected to announce an update to the existing protections of 75 ppb this October. 

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visithttp://www.sierraclub.org.

Source: www.sierraclub.org