It's National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and a group of Illinois moms is asking lawmakers to help improve the state's air quality.
May is a peak month for asthma and allergy sufferers, and the rate of asthma in Illinois is 13 percent higher than the national average. As the climate gets hotter, concerned parents say, local air pollution and other irritants will trigger more asthma attacks in children.
Kelly Nichols, a field organizer for the group Moms Clean Air Force Illinois, said enacting the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, which would limit carbon pollution, is one way to also benefit asthma sufferers.
"The reduction in carbon emissions, I feel, has a huge impact on climate change," she said, "and the worse climate change gets, the more erratic the weather gets and the worse asthma and allergy gets."
Last month, 16 Illinois counties got failing grades for high ozone pollution from the American Lung Association. While carbon emissions and ground-level ozone are not known to cause asthma, health experts have said, they are triggers for asthma attacks.
Nationally, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation ranks Chicago among the top 10 most challenging places to live with asthma. Nichols argued that more state investments in renewable energy sources now can mean a greater chance of changing that down the line.
"You can't buy clean air, even if you live in a great neighborhood," she said. "So, it's something that everyone in Illinois needs to be aware of. Just because it seems OK, doesn't necessarily mean that it is."
Senate Bill 1485, the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, was introduced last year and currently is being considered by state lawmakers.
More information is online at momscleanairforce.org.