Environmental advocates highlight the impact of air pollution on children’s health

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One day after the Environmental Protection Agency announced new air quality standards, the advocacy group Moms Clean Air Force held its inaugural “Climate Disruption, Air Pollution, and Youth Health” summit this week in Washington.

The EPA says the new air quality standards will better protect Americans from particulate matter or soot, and save lives.

“Air pollution is real. Soot pollution is one of the most dangerous types of pollution, and tightening this standard will not only protect our children and the most vulnerable populations, but also healthy people equal a healthy economy,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan told ABC. News.

“We held this summit so we could bring together parents and the press — people to understand how essential it is to put kids at the center of the climate conversation. We’re talking about toxic chemicals, air pollution and climate disruption,” Dominic Browning, director and co-founder of Moms Clean Air Force, told ABC News. “Children are uniquely vulnerable to these dangerous effects of these things. Therefore, we need to create policies and laws that take into account the special needs of children.”

Reagan also noted the disproportionate impact of air pollution on communities of color. African Americans develop respiratory diseases, including asthma, lung disease and lung cancer, at a higher rate than their white counterparts, according to the report. National Library of Medicine. The probability of developing these diseases and their severity increases with exposure to air pollution. It’s a problem Regan says the EPA is addressing.

“President Biden has made environmental justice a central pillar of this administration,” Reagan said. “He is the first president to speak about environmental justice during a State of the Union address.”

“With this charge, I created the first national outdoor environmental justice and civil rights program. EPA’s more than 200 employees are focused solely on ensuring that everything we do with regard to air quality, water quality, and cleaning up our lands, is done in a way ‘the way we protect Our most vulnerable, our environmental justice, Black, brown and tribal communities. So, I’m really excited about the work of this administration. And through the inflation control law, more than $3 billion. “It’s just focused on environmental justice and climate equity,” he said.

PHOTO: In this February 28, 2018, file photo, members of the Moms Clean Air Force stand at the top of the steps outside City Hall with others during a march to protest the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, in San Francisco, California.

In this February 28, 2018, file photo, members of the Moms Clean Air Force stand at the top of the steps outside City Hall with others during a march to protest the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, in San Francisco, California.

San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images, FILE

The event, held at the National Press Club, attracted doctors, government officials, mental health experts and environmental advocates for discussions on the intersection between climate change, air pollution and public health.

Reagan noted how his agency is partnering with organizations, including the Moms Clean Air Force, to create new environmental standards like the updated particle pollution standard announced Wednesday.

“It’s a very proud announcement that we made, and partnering with organizations like Clean Moms Air Force and others, reinforces the fact that we are trying to protect our children,” Regan told ABC News.

Clinton Foundation Vice President Chelsea Clinton, whose work includes the Too Small to Fail early childhood development initiative, spoke at the summit. She told ABC News that there are many different ways parents can keep their children safe.

PHOTO: In this July 20, 2021, file photo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez greets Elizabeth Brandt, of the Moms Clean Air Force, and her children, after Ocasio-Cortez spoke at a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

In this July 20, 2021, file photo, Elizabeth Brandt, of Moms Clean Air Force, and her children are greeted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of the Moms Clean Air Force, after Ocasio-Cortez spoke at a press conference urging the inclusion of the Civilian Climate Corps. The Climate Jobs Program, in the budget reconciliation bill, outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC

Kevin Deitch/Getty Images, file

She pointed to means of protection from infectious diseases and injuries and school safety training, adding: “But now we have to think about helping to keep our children safe from climate change.”

Clinton highlighted what parents can do about heat and air pollution.

“Our children don’t have the same lung capacity that we do to help get clean air, so they’re already exposed to air pollution,” Clinton said. “And what are we doing to help clean the air through ventilation in space and the places we spend time – and what are we doing to help support, hopefully, less air pollution in the future?”

Liz Hurtado, national field director for Moms Clean Air Force, attended the event with one of her children, Lena, the organization’s children’s spokeswoman.

Hurtado said they are attending the summit to help “seek solutions and seek stronger protections” on air pollution.

Several members of the Moms Clean Air Force confirmed to ABC News what they described as the organization’s nonpartisan status.

“This doesn’t have to be a political issue,” Hurtado said. “It really affects everyone, regardless of parties, regardless of any differences we might see there.” “It’s an issue that affects all of us, whether we realize it or not, and that’s why we really take pride in the education component, and we base that education on the different ways that it might impact your community or the state that you’re in.”

Photo: In this September 27, 2017, file photo, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Nanette Barragán, and Rep. Barbara Lee participate in a rally organized by Mom's Mobilize, Green For All, and Moms Clean Air Force, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

In this September 27, 2017 file photo, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Nanette Barragán, and Rep. Barbara Lee participate in a rally organized by Mom’s Mobilize, Green For All, and Moms Clean Air Force, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Capital

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, file

“There is no such thing as blue or red when we talk about children’s health,” she added.

Patrice Tomsic, national field director for Moms Clean Air Force, said climate change is personal to her, noting the impact she says she’s seen in her home in southwestern Pennsylvania.

“There’s a lot of air pollution, and we’re already seeing a lot of climate change impacts with stronger storms, more flooding — more flooding,” Tomsic said, claiming that oil and gas operations in her community are creating chaos. Health concern for residents.

“This is happening in my community. And the closest [oil] “The wellpads are about a half-mile from my kids’ schools,” she said. “When they actually do this fossil fuel drilling, what’s also going to happen is methane, which is warming the climate, as well as other pollutants that are harmful to health. And so the kids who are exposed to these pollutants, like my son who goes to school nearby, that’s “A real concern for their health.”

According to its website, the organization currently has 1.5 million members, including mothers and fathers, working to combat air pollution.

This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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