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Rep. McCarthy and Sen. Clinton Introduce Legislation to Address the Environmental Causes of Asthma

Press Release

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Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) today reintroduced the Family Asthma Act, legislation that would establish a coordinated federal response to address growing rates of asthma, which has been diagnosed in more than 32 million Americans, including 9 million children. The bill would improve understanding and awareness of the environmental factors that impact asthma attacks, improve patient self-management, increase funding for asthma surveillance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and require the federal government to establish a strategic plan to address the asthma epidemic.

"Asthma rates are reaching crisis proportions, affecting the lives and health of the more than two million New Yorkers with more than 32 million people across the country who have been diagnosed with asthma. We have made progress in reducing emergency room visits and deaths from this condition, but to truly make a difference we need to address the environmental causes of asthma," said Senator Clinton.

"As a nurse, I have seen the effects of asthma on Long Island's families. As our nation grows, so does the number of pollutants in the air. I believe there is a link between the environment we live in and the high incidence of asthma today, especially on Long Island. This legislation will help to determine that link and provide doctors and legislators with the tools they need to reduce the rates of asthma in this country," said Congresswoman McCarthy.

The bill would strengthen the role of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) at the National Institutes of Health. Earlier this year, the NAEPP announced revised guidelines for managing and monitoring asthma, which include recognition of and recommendations to deal with the environmental factors that contribute to asthma attacks. The legislation being introduced today would further expand the activities of the NAEPP by requiring them to develop an Asthma Action Plan to ensure that all federal agencies work together to reduce asthma prevalence in the United States. Existing asthma programs at the CDC will also be strengthened through the Family Asthma Act.

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