Last year I wrote to my Congresswoman Sen. Wendy Davis that as a Fort Worth taxpayer, working professional and most of all, mother of two, I had deep concerns about our declining Texas air and water quality. I’m not an environmental activist, but as the mother of a toddler with asthma,* I could not in clear conscience sit quietly any longer, especially after learning about the effects local gas drilling was having on our air quality.
Perhaps many of you have never had to hear the distressing sounds of a baby breathing fast and hard trying to get more oxygen into her lungs, or coughing so much through the night that she must be given nebulizer treatments. I hope you never do.
But last week, I read that the Environmental Protection Agency downgraded our regional air quality from “moderate” to “serious” and it moved me to write again. When will we begin taking our air quality seriously enough to reverse these negative trends?
I have read many news articles quoting our state leaders’ emphasis on jobs and the economy. And yet, I also read on this blog recently that there are hidden costs of pollution, such as rising asthma and cancer rates. Why aren’t more people touting these facts? Don’t they also negatively affect our economy?
I’m a mom and I want clean air for my kids. Is anyone paying attention to what’s happening here?
*In Texas, asthma is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases, and the continued rise in prevalence rates makes it one of the state's biggest health concerns. According to a 2007 study by the Texas Department of State Health Services, an estimated 2.3 million (12.9%) adult Texans have self-reported lifetime asthma and 1.4 million (8.2%) have current asthma. Both of these estimates are higher than the national averages. Sadly, asthma affects more children than any other chronic disease and is one of the most frequent reasons for hospital admissions among children. — The Burden of Asthma in Texas: A Report From The Texas Asthma Control Program, 2007