PSR-LA Organizes World Asthma Day Media Event


United in a stance against the alarming increase in asthma, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSRLA) sponsored a World Asthma Day Press Event on May 4, 2004. Some of Los Angeles’ leading public health advocates, environmental justice groups, and community parents commemorated World Asthma Day by demanding for the passage of several air quality bills to prevent future asthma cases and improve the health of the children who currently have asthma. These bills address railroad pollution, port pollution, and indoor air quality in schools.


“Currently, there are over half a million Latinos, including approximately 200,000 Latino children, who suffer from asthma in California. The passage of SB 1397, AB 2863, and AB 2042 are important elements of a comprehensive plan to reduce environmental asthma triggers,” said Martha Dina Arguello, Director of Environmental Health and Justice with PSR-LA.

Dr. Elisa Nicolas, Project Director for the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, added, “California can and should be doing more to ensure that children with asthma are adequately diagnosed and treated. The first step is insuring children have a medical home for treatment. The second step is ensuring that children live, study, and play in an environment [free of] asthma triggers.”

The Los Angeles metropolitan area is the most polluted region in America, with significant air pollution caused by regional goods movement, specifically railroad, port, and diesel truck emissions. The nitrogen oxide pollutants emitted from Southern California railroads exceed emissions from 100 of the largest oil refineries, power plants, chemical plants, and other industrial facilities combined, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. With the forecasted tripling of international cargo, an expected 216% increase in diesel truck trips, and anticipated doubling of railroad trips, it will be difficult to maintain satisfactory public health standards, including the deadlines of the Clean Air Act, unless bills like SB 1397 (Escutia), AB 2863 (Pavley), and AB 2042 (Lowenthall) are fully implemented.

In attendance were some of PSR-LA Community Action to Fight Action (CAFA) partners, including Coalition for Community Health, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, and the Coalition for Clean Air. In total, we received coverage from KCAL 9, KCBS 2, FOX 11, and several Spanish and Chinese community newspapers.

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