Lung Association Hopes for Strong Clean Air Act
OttawaOctober 11, 2006
The Canadian Lung Association today welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper of new federal government measures to reduce pollution and improve air quality in Canada. The Lung Association is encouraged by the federal government's expressed commitment to take a holistic approach that aims to reduce both pollution and green house gases. The Association has long maintained that air pollution and climate change are critical health threats that must be addressed together.
"We will welcome effective legislation and regulations that significantly reduce the levels of pollution in the air we breathe. We look forward to seeing the details of the proposed Clean Air Act", said Kenneth Maybee Vice President, Environment, for The Lung Association. "Health Canada has estimated that 5,900 people die each year from air pollution, and thousands more require hospitalization or increased use of inhalers, and many miss work or school. It's time for real action on air quality."
As smog warnings increase in Canada' s larger cities, pollution has become as much a health issue as an environmental one. Air pollution is made up of harmful gases and elements that are produced by vehicles, homes, power plants, smelters, burning wood, and other industries. Besides the threat to the environment, air pollution also represents a serious threat to human health. Health research has established clear links between air pollution and increased severity of asthma attacks, difficulty breathing for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), certain types of lung cancer, and heart attacks. Warmer air associated with a changing climate has increased air pollution in many parts of Canada.
Reducing environmental contributors to chronic lung illness will be a key focus of a major new initiative recently launched by The Lung Association. Through a series of consultations with stakeholders, the private sector, and all levels of governments the Association has established agreement on the need to develop a National Framework on Respiratory Health. The Framework will provide the first comprehensive assessment of the state of lung health in Canada, identify gaps in programs and research, and result in a co-ordinated strategy to effectively treat and prevent lung disease.
"We have received a very clear mandate from our stakeholders to develop the respiratory health framework, which will deal directly with environmental factors in lung illness", said Nora Sobolov President & CEO of The Lung Association. " We are ready and willing to work with government to achieve cleaner air and improve lung health for all Canadians."
The Lung Association is one of Canada' s oldest and most respected health charities. Recognized as a leader in lung health, our mission is to improve and promote lung health through support programs, education, research, and advocacy. Key areas of focus include: outdoor and indoor air quality, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, smoking prevention and cessation, flu, and lung disease management.