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Katy Farber's picture

EPA chat

The EPA is asking for our input. From people like you and me. Regular parents. They want to know what you think about climate, clean air and child's health. This week, MomsRising is hosting a teleconference and TwitterChat with none other than Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA. Here's why I am attending this important event, and I hope you will too.

I'm attending this event to speak on behalf of my students. As a teacher, I've seen many students in my classes who suffer from asthma. They have to limit their physical activity, take medication, and worry about air quality. 1 in 10 students are affected by asthma, and as a result, this is the number one reason kids miss school. This results in family stress, missed educational days, increased risk of hospitalization, and more suffering and even premature death. And asthma is linked to carbon pollution from coal and power plants, and global climate change.

As a society, how can we allow the very air they breathe to harm them?  Bad air days are more frequent and are preventable. I am asking the EPA to regulate carbon from coal plants to improve the air quality for my students.


While my own children don't suffer from asthma, I know that child health is tenuous and inextricably linked to the environment. Indoor air quality, toxins in schools, daycares and homes, additives to our foods, and pollution of our soils, waterways, and air all contribute to a childhood illnesses. We must act to protect children from these threats and provide for them the best chance of success in life. The chance to grow up to the fullest of their potential-- body, mind and soul-- without harm from industrial pollutants that can harm these, in many cases irrevocably.

We can't choose or shop our way out of toxic pollutants. No matter how much organic produce we buy or don't buy, where we send our kids to school, or where we live, the health of our children is tied to the air they breathe. Right now  there are no emission limits on our nation's single largest source of carbon pollution-- power plants. Carbon pollution is linked to extreme weather, increased smog, increases in asthma and heart conditions, and diseases such as West Nile and Lyme.

I'm attending this event for children's health, everywhere, especially at risk communities, such as areas of high pollution and poverty. Smog and air pollution, both of which are increased with carbon pollution, affect communities of color dramatically, and this is environmental injustice. A child's health and potential shouldn't be based on where they live. We need an even playing field for ALL children, in ALL locations.

I'm attending this teleconference to represent pregnant mothers as well. There are new links between prenatal air pollution exposure and asthma in young children. Women deserve the right to have a toxin free pregnancy and their children deserve an equal chance at success.

Finally, I'm attending because the EPA is asking to hear from moms and dads through this teleconference, so my participation -- my voice -- really will be heard.  And EPA needs to hear from parents del[too], because we know that well paid lobbyists from coal and power companies are makingtheir voices heard loud and clear. Our voices matter. They are listening. What will would you share?

Sign up for the teleconference here, or follow along at 4pm ET Wednesday to the TwitterChat by following the hashtag #momsonclimate. From now until the teleconference or TwitterChat, you  can ask a question or leave your comment here, and I will either ask it myself of Gina McCarthy and EPA representatives or personally work with MomsRising to make sure they see it.


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