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Take action this summer to reduce exposure to asthma triggers

Release Date: 06/21/2011
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (June 21, 2011) - - Summer heat is here, and that means it is more important than ever for people with asthma or other respiratory ailments to pay close attention to the air quality where they live. Like the weather, air quality can change from day to day or even hour to hour.

During the summer when ozone levels rise, the number of people with asthma related symptoms admitted to hospitals and emergency rooms increases. Asthma rates – especially among children – have increased dramatically. Asthma affects 25 million people in the United States, including seven million children. That’s 8 percent of the population. One out of every 10 school aged children is affected.

“While we have made great strides in improving air quality, we still need to do more,” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “By further improving air quality, we can help to control asthma and provide a more active lifestyle for children, a vulnerable population.”

In addition to talking with your health care provider, these steps can help prevent an asthma episode:


    Play it safe. Ground-level ozone and particle pollution can exacerbate an asthma episode. Look for the Air Quality Index (AQI) during the local weather report or go to EPA’s website http://www.airnow.gov/. The Air Quality Index uses a color-coded system to display whether the five major air pollutants exceed air

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      quality standards for the day. When the Air Quality Index reports unhealthy levels, people, particularly asthmatics and others with respiratory ailments, should limit strenuous outdoor activities.


    Don’t smoke in the home. Take it outside. One of the most common asthma triggers in the home is second- hand smoke. Take the EPA ‘smoke-free home’ pledge: http://www.epa.gov/smokefree.

    Break the mold. Mold is another asthma trigger. The key to controlling mold is controlling moisture. Wash and dry hard surfaces to prevent and remove mold. Remove, and if possible replace, moldy ceiling tiles and carpet. For more see EPA’s website: http://www.epa.gov/asthma/molds.html


For information on EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional asthma program and other asthma triggers please see: http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/asthma/asthma.htm and http://www.epa.gov/asthma/awm/.

To hear an audio podcast about National Nursing Center Consortium (NNCC), a community based organization in Philadelphia, and EPA’s efforts to tackle asthma visit: http://www.epa.gov/region3/multimedia/frame1contents/audio_2009.html To learn more about NNCC see: http://www.nncc.us/site/

EPA encourages community-based organizations to join the on-line Community in Action for Asthma-Friendly Environments Network at www.asthmacommunitynetwork.org. The network provides community-based organizations with information, webinars, resources, and strategies to accelerate improvements in asthma care.