Texas Clean Air Matters

Selected tag(s): asthma

Mom Conveys Concern About Texas Air Quality

Guest post from DeeDra Parrish, a Fort Worth homeowner, wife and mother of two children.

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

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New Video Helps Drive Message to Port Truckers

Last May I wrote about efforts to clean up air pollution at our nation’s ports, starting with trucks doing business in and around the Port of Houston. Given that the Houston truck program offers the best incentives of any clean truck program around the country, we wanted to highlight the program and share some of the success stories with the help of a video.


This program, administered by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), leverages state grant money from the Texas Emission Reduction Program with federal money to offer incentives for truckers to get into newer, cleaner trucks. While the program is targeted to truckers who operate at the port, any driver who operates the majority of time within the Houston area may be eligible. Read More »

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Texas Could Pay Bills, Save Ills

With Texas now facing a $27 billion budget shortfall and the possibility of new taxes, layoffs and service cuts at the state level, we’re long overdue in implementing the long-term savings that will help improve our quality of life, save jobs and even make Texans healthier. It’s time for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to stop wasting taxpayer money fighting the Environmental Protection Agency and for state legislators to adopt common-sense solutions like those outlined in the “No Regrets” bill, which offers reductions strategies for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at no cost to business and consumers.

Reducing air pollutants that are harmful to human health (e.g., particulate matter, ozone-precursors, and even GHGs) saves money. How? Fewer missed days at work. Decreased number of hospital visits. Lower mortality rates. We’re talking about the hidden costs of air pollution. Don’t just take our word for it. Consider that in Texas:

  • Asthma accounted for more than 25,000 hospitalizations and an estimated $446.8 million in hospital charges in 2007.  An estimated 2.3 million (12.9%) adults had self-reported lifetime asthma, and 1.4 million (8.2%) adults had self-reported current asthma.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death and will become the number one leading cause of death in the next decade. The total estimated direct medical costs due to cancer in 1998 were $4.9 billion, and indirect costs from lost productivity were $9.1 billion – for a total of about $14.0 billion attributable to Read More »
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