Carbon emissions linked to increase in childhood asthma cases

The number of childhood asthma cases has doubled since 1980, and is the leading cause of school absenteeism.

One in 10 children currently have asthma in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That's twice as many cases as there were in 1980, and since greenhouse gas emissions, one of the main causes of asthma, have only become increasingly present in the atmosphere, that number should come as no surprise.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, asthma is the most common chronic childhood condition and is the number one reason students miss school. The Huffington Post reports that soot, ozone and other air pollutants seem to be some of the primary contributors to the epidemic.

This year has been unique in that allergy season seems to have begun early, due to the extraordinarily warm temperatures much of the country has experienced. Dr. Christopher Codispoti, an asthma expert at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, told the Huffington Post that there may be more severe asthma cases this year due to a prolonged allergy season and consequent high concentrations of allergens like pollen.

"Emotionally, this is very, very scary, and I know I'm not alone," said Lori Popkewitz Alper, mother of a 10-year-old asthma sufferer. "We stand at our children's beds at night and listen to them breathe. You realize that's the breath of life and how quickly that can change."

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working tirelessly to ensure that entities that are notorious for producing carbon emissions, such as coal-fired power plants and automobiles, are going green, but they've been struggling to get their initiatives passed by government officials.

Last December, Columbia University released a report about the EPA's new air quality regulations. The study showed that while implementing these initiatives would cost roughly $195 billion over the next 20 years, they would generate more than $1 trillion in economic, environmental and health benefits.

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