Thursday, August 23, 2018

Trump's Coal Plan Will Hang Heavy Over Asthma-Prone San Antonio

Posted By on Thu, Aug 23, 2018 at 1:47 PM

click to enlarge Bexar county's rate for childhood asthma hospitalizations are nearly double that of the state. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Bexar county's rate for childhood asthma hospitalizations are nearly double that of the state.
Even if you're not worried about being one of the estimated 1,400 Americans or 224 Texans who will die annually if the Trump administration replaces the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, chances are you know or have a family member who has asthma.

And their odds look considerably worse.

The administration's much-relaxed rules for coal-burning plants would create 48,000 new cases of “exacerbated asthma” and 21,000 more missed days of school annually by 2030, according to EPA documents. And with child hospitalizations from asthma here almost double the state's overall rate, it stands to reason S.A. would experience more than its share of both.

In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, 14.7 of 10,000 children 17 or under were hospitalized for asthma in Bexar County, compared to just 8.3 per 10,000 for the whole state.



"Asthma is a complex disease — we don't know all the causes — but we do know air pollution exacerbates it, which is a fancy way of saying it makes the attacks worse," said Paul Billings, national senior vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association. "(The Trump plan) really is halting progress and putting pollution back into the air."

Even if you buy the president's argument that propping up the nearly flatlined coal industry will create jobs, experts point out that asthma and other respiratory issues have real economic consequences of their own. The EPA, for example, estimates that the Clean Air Act will bring $2 trillion in economic benefit by 2020, much the result of people taking fewer sick days and racking up fewer medical expenses.

"The effects cascade," Billings said. "If a child in a polluted area has an asthma attack, we know there's a good likelihood the child will miss school, the parents will miss work and that there will be higher healthcare costs."

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, San Antonio Current has been keeping San Antonio informed for years.


It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.


If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to San Antonio Current. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.


Calendar

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

© 2020 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation