06/01/2012 10:03 am ET Updated Aug 01, 2012

Our Families Deserve Clean Air

Summer approaches and as the temperature rises so does the threat of more asthma attacks for children and adults suffering from this fearful disease. As a pediatric pulmonologist I see the burden faced by families due to asthma on a daily basis. The emotional, physical, and economic costs are overwhelming.

In New Jersey, where I practice, Latino children (10.4%) and blacks (12.8%) were the most commonly diagnosed with asthma. And Latino children nationwide are one and a half more likely hospitalized with asthma and visit the room of emergency versus non-Latino children. That's why we created RESPIRA, a bilingual education program which offers bilingual education about asthma for children and their families, through schools and in local communities.

This month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the opportunity to protect our children's health thanks to a new rule to limit carbon emissions from new coal burning power plants.

But this standard will not be adopted without your help. Join us and hundreds of other health professionals who are calling on EPA to adopt this new health protective standard to limit greenhouse gases that cause global warming and the high temperatures that worsen the pollution that triggers asthma attacks.

Power plants account for about 40 percent of America's global warming emissions -- with the bulk of that coming from coal-fired plants. These higher temperatures result in more pollution that in turn triggers the asthma attacks we at RESPIRA work so hard to prevent.

Many New Jersey Latino families have significant language limitations, difficult socioeconomic conditions, in consistent health care providers, and many use the emergency department as a primary care facility for asthma. Many of these families had no insurance or were underinsured, and frequently lived in already ozone-polluted areas of New Jersey, leaving their children at greater risk for asthma attacks.

This proposed rule will help to reduce this risk. That's why millions of Americans support EPA's efforts to reduce carbon pollution, according to a bi-partisan poll sponsored by the American Lung Association two out of three Americans support the EPA's effort to crackdown on air pollution and are speaking out.

As of last week, mmore than one million Americans had told the Environmental Protection Agency that they support standards to limit carbon pollution from new power plants. This is the most responses the EPA has received on any issue ever.

The new standards will create the first-ever limit on carbon pollution but polluters would rather keep business at usual. Join me and let's make the Latino community's voice be heard. Together, we can ensure that new power plants will use the latest clean technologies. Tell the EPA you support the new standards. Together, we can create a healthier future for our children.