Laura Kate Bender on the State of the Air 2020: Insights from the American Lung Association

In this video, Laura Kate Bender, from the American Lung Association, talks about the newly published State of the Air 2020 report, the facts that you need to know in order to better care for your patients, and how you can get involved.

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Laura Kate Bender is the national assistant vice president for healthy air at the American Lung Association.


 

TRANSCRIPT:

My name is Laura Kate Bender, and I'm the National Assistant Vice President for Healthy Air at the American Lung Association.

At the American Lung Association, we champion clean air for all. Clean air is essential for lung health. As you know, air pollution can harm anyone's health, but some people are at greater risk, as you know children, seniors, and of course people with chronic heart or lung disease.

The good news is that over the past several decades we've made enormous progress in reducing dangerous air pollution. This year is actually the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. It's a landmark bipartisan law, and it has driven enormous progress in reducing air pollution across the country over the past several decades, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

However, we are not there yet; we still have work to do. Every year, the American Lung Association puts out our State of the Air Report. State of the Air 2020 found that nearly half of all Americans still live in communities that had unhealthy levels of particle pollution or ozone pollution. And the burden is not equally shared. The report also found that people of color, for instance, are disproportionately likely to live in a community with unhealthy air.

Furthermore, after decades of progress, we're actually seeing air pollution get worse in parts of the country, and that’s because of climate change. Climate change is a health emergency. It affects health in so many ways, but one of the ways is that it can actually make air pollution more likely in much of the country.

There is good news. We can all ban together to support solutions that clean up climate change pollution and air pollution at the same time, like zero-emission transportation and clean, renewable energy.

The Lung Association advocates to policymakers for those changes, but we also educate and empower the public to have an impact through our Stand Up for Clean Air initiative. You can find out more by visiting www.lung.org/air for our Stand Up for Clean Air initiative.

And especially your role as medical professionals is critical for this effort. Your trusted voices are crucial to educate patients and the public in your communities about the need for clean air and climate change protections to protect health.

So, the first thing you can do at www.lung.org/air is take our pledge. We have a pledge that you can use to sign up to receive more information on tips to reduce your own environmental impact, new research and facts from the Lung Association on these issues, and critical action opportunities.

The second way you can take action is by checking out our activist’s toolkit at the same website.

Our Stand Up for Clean Air activist’s toolkit has a wealth of resources to help you educate your patients, the public, and everyone that you can about the impacts of air pollution and climate change on health.

One of the things that I think is the coolest is that we have a film screening toolkit, where you can actually use our resources to set up a virtual film screening to help educate people about why these issues are so important to their health.

And then third, we have a special online community called Health Professionals for Clean Air and Climate Action. Again, we know the power of the health professional’s voice. Your role is critical to help educate people about the need to take their lung health seriously when it comes to air pollution and climate change and to call for action.

So www.lung.org/climatechangeshealth is where you can find out more about our Health Professionals for Clean Air and Climate Action Community, sign up to receive updates that are specifically tailored to your role as health professionals.

To find out more about the state of your air, you can visit our State of the Air report in its online home at www.lung.org/sota. The website allows you to type in your zip code or look up your state and you can actually look at your community’s levels of ozone and particle pollution, as well as find out about the health impacts and get tips on how to reduce the impact.

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