CEO Update

Promoting Clean Air and lung health in Washington DC Image

Dear Friends of Breathe California,

On June 13 and 14th, I joined 30 others representing 20 organizations to advocate for clean air and lung health in Washington DC. The United For Lung Health Advocacy Days brought together lung health advocates with lawmakers who can enact change. Advocates from across the country, including lung disease patients, came together to share their perspectives in hopes that their collective voices will make a difference in the lives of people living with lung disease.

The direct visits are important because legislators need reminding that Lung disease is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and the rates of many lung diseases are on the rise. It is estimated that more than 49 million Americans are living with a chronic lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis or sarcoidosis. Together the United for Lung Health partners support lung disease prevention efforts, improved air quality initiatives, better treatment options and increased access.

Along with myself, representing Breathe California were Margo Sidener, CEO of Breathe California Bay Area; Board member, Renee Kops Jones; and Renee’s mother Nancy Kops.

Together we visited the offices of Northern California elected representatives and asked for their support of:

  • Lung Disease Research Funding – The rates of many lung diseases are on the rise, but federal funding for research to combat lung disease is at the lowest level since 2001.
  • The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act (S752/HR1394) – Lung cancer alone is the second leading cause of death in the United States, taking nearly 160,000 lives each year. The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act declares lung cancer a national public health priority, and is the first-ever federal legislation authorizing a coordinated multi-agency research program specific to lung cancer.
  • Diesel Soot Pollution Reduction Strategies – Diesel soot is an air pollutant responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths annually, in addition to increased asthma attacks, respiratory hospitalizations, heart attacks and strokes. Technology is available to reduce harmful soot emissions by 90 percent, but funding is needed to install this equipment. Targeted programs, including the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act DERA) and the Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) Clean Diesel Construction provisions in the proposed transportation funding bill will have a huge impact in reducing dangerous pollution people area exposed to every day.
  • The National COPD Program – COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, but half of the 24 million people living with COPD do not even know they have it. Support is needed for more funding for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to convene a national action plan on COPD to establish a comprehensive response to COPD morbidity and mortality, and serve people living with the disease.

We urged protection of:

  • The National Asthma Control Program (NACP) – Which had been destined for a 50% funding cut, but since our visit has been maintained! This is critical because the rate of asthma is on the rise in the United States, especially among children. The NACP monitors asthma in the population, forms partnerships, oversees interventions, and determines which prevention methods are the most effective. Through clean air policies and education, the NACP reduced the asthma hospitalization rate by 10% and reduced asthma mortality rates by 45%.
  • The Prevention and Public Health Fund – This part of the 2010 healthcare reform law gives essential funding to tobacco prevention and cessation programs which prevent unnecessary deaths and save health care dollars, providing a substantial return on investment.
  • The Clean Air Act – This landmark piece of legislation has saved millions of lives and protected lung health for more than 40 years. Yet the act is still under attack by legislators attempting to prevent EPA from implementing effective pollution rules and programs, or to delay and even prohibit the EPA from setting air quality standard based solely on science and health. The Clean Air Act should be fully implemented and enforced to protect public health.

...and urged members to join the U.S. Congressional COPD Caucus:

The Congressional COPD Caucus is a bipartisan group working together to actively push for COPD awareness and promote government policies to improve the lives of people living with COPD.

United for Lung Health members include:

American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, Inc.
Breathe AmericaTM Alliance
Breathe California
Breathe DC
Breathe New Hampshire
Cancer Survivors Against Radon (CanSAR)
Chicago Asthma Consortium
Children's Interstitial Lung Disease Foundation
Colorado COPD Coalition
COPD Foundation
Emphysema Foundation for Our Right to Survive
Healthy Lungs Pennsylvania
Nursing Assembly
Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago
United for Lung Health members promote increased support for lung disease research that can help find better treatments and cures; educational efforts that promote prevention, early detection and proper management of lung disease and reduction of the risks to lung health, such as air pollution. Members remain vigilant to ensure that previous legislative and policy wins for lung health are not weakened.

This work is critical because:

  • COPD alone is the third leading cause of death.
  • 25 million folks have asthma in the USA.
  • 12 Million have been diagnosed with COPD, and it is believed that another 12 million have the disease but have not been diagnosed.
At every turn – efforts are being made to undermine the Clean Air Act. For more information, visit www.unitedforlunghealth.org. You can support our own efforts by clicking on the DONATE NOW button below. You can also sign up to be a Breathe California Volunteer or support us in other ways, such as donating your vehicle, signing up for e-script or workplace giving! With highest regards, Linda Civitello, President & CEO

Page last modified on Thursday, October 04, 2012 11:58:01pm UTC