• 48°

Editorial: Breathing easier now

Improving air quality may help Rowan County recruit more industry, but there’s a better, more immediate benefit — easier breathing for some of our most vulnerable residents.

From 2001 to 2011, the number of Americans with asthma grew by 28 percent, says the Centers for Disease Control. North Carolina has experienced a similar upward trend.

School nurses see the trend first-hand. One out of every 10 children in North Carolina has asthma, going into scary bouts of wheezing, breathlessness and chest-tighteness. These episodes are triggered by irritants like strong chemicals, pesticides and pollutants; strong odors; and secondhand smoke. Allergies can also set off an attack.

Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children— affecting more than 92,000 school-age children in the state in 2009-10 — and is a leading cause of absenteeism.

Young people often carry the disease into adulthood; while others develop it later in life, sometimes along with other lung maladies. Some 8 percent of the state’s 65-plus age group also has asthma.

During a recent interview with reporter Josh Bergeron, Center for the Environment head Dr. John Wear compared breathing in high levels of ozone to breathing in a mild form of bleach. It would follow that people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease experience that sensation much more acutely.

People wear air pollution masks in parts of the world, such as China and Indonesia to avoid breathing in carcinogens and other toxins. Air pollution has become the world’s biggest environmental health risk with 7 million deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization.

People complain about government overreach, but without environmental laws and standards to protect air quality, we might all be wearing masks. Don’t take our clean air for granted. It comes at a price, that’s for sure, but the consequences of breathing in polluted air would be much worse.

Comments

Local

Catawba holds baccalaureate services for Class of 2021

News

$9M settlement for two men wrongfully sent to death row

Nation/World

China lands spacecraft on Mars in latest advance for its space program

Business

Gas crunch hits Washington; Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million in Bitcoin ransome

Coronavirus

State mostly returns to normal operations after 15 months of lockdowns, restrictions

Crime

Blotter: Man accused of stealing car, crashing it

Crime

Man faces new charge of attempted murder for father’s shooting

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper lifts indoor mask mandate for most situations, gathering limits

Crime

Barnes gets new punishment of two life sentences in Tutterow couple’s 1992 murder

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday