Monday, May 03, 2010

In Conjunction with Asthma Awareness Month, the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute Urges Communities to Take Steps to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

/PRNewswire/ -- In light of Asthma Awareness Month, the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) reminds families and communities to be proactive about minimizing their exposure to airborne chemicals and other indoor air pollutants.

Studies have shown that inhalation exposure to chemicals like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and indoor particulate matter pollution can increase the risk of asthma and other respiratory complications in children. And according to the American Lung Association, VOCs can cause severe asthma symptoms in people who already suffer from the disease.

"Science has consistently shown a link between indoor air pollution and asthma severity -- particularly among children," says Dr. Marilyn Black, founder of GEI. "Since people spend 90-percent of their time indoors, Asthma Awareness Month is the perfect time to emphasize the importance of creating healthier indoor environments."

Simple steps that families and communities can take to help reduce indoor air pollution include regularly ventilating homes, offices, and classrooms; avoiding the use of harsh cleansers, solvents, and deodorizers; allowing new furniture and home decor to off-gas, or air out, outside for several days before bringing inside; and choosing only third-party certified low-emitting products.

Experts agree that source control, which includes the strategic selection and use of products that have been independently certified for low chemical emissions, is the most effective way to combat indoor air pollution. For more information, visit www.greenguard.org and www.lungusa.org.

Key Asthma Statistics
-- Twenty-three million people in the U.S.--including 7 million
children--suffer from asthma.
-- Worldwide, it's estimated that 300 million people suffer from asthma.
-- At least 250,000 deaths worldwide are attributed to asthma each year.
-- Globally, the number of people with asthma is expected to grow by more
than 100 million by 2025.
-- In the U.S. alone, asthma is the third-leading cause of
hospitalization among children under 15 years old, and is responsible
for 13 million missed school days each year.
-- Approximately 4 million children in the U.S. have suffered an asthma
attack in the last year.
-- Asthma accounts for roughly 500,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each
year.
-- Asthma accounts for 217,000 emergency room visits and 10.5 million
physician office visits in the U.S. every year.
-- Asthma accounts for approximately 10.1 million missed work days in the
U.S. each year.
-- The annual economic cost of asthma in the U.S. is $19.7 billion. That
includes $14.7 billion in direct costs and $5 billion in indirect
costs, such as lost productivity.




Sources: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Center for Health Statistics; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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