Letter: Many suffer on bad ozone days

To the Editors:
The Wilton Bulletin got the story straight when it published its article on the Lung Association’s State of the Air report (online April 19, 2017), but what it missed was a look at the frightening, everyday health impact on Connecticut residents.
In Fairfield County alone, the most polluted county in the New York City metro area, we have 25,884 children with pediatric asthma, 76,395 adults with asthma, 36,729 people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and 598 people fighting lung cancer. These folks, along with hundreds of thousands of others who suffer from cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as those living in poverty, feel every second of bad ozone days and are at greater risk for missing school or work or ending up in a hospital emergency room.
Some people may read the report and think that an average of 24 days a year of high ozone doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re a parent of a child with pediatric asthma, or know someone suffering from emphysema or chronic bronchitis, each of those 24 days can feel like a lifetime. On those days, the simple act of going outside can cause severe irritation to one of your vital organs or to the vital organs of a person you love.
As a community we must not settle in perpetuity for failed grades on high ozone. Connecticut residents and elected officials must heed the warnings and stand together in the fight for healthy, clean air. It’s a matter of life and breath!
Jonathon K. Rosen, Board Chair
American Lung Association of the Northeast
Wilton, May 1