Thursday, November 3, 2011
New Report on Asthma and Hispanics Points to Environmental, Societal Triggers
Nuestra salud I got this press release from Serrano's office a few days ago. I am not surprised by this report's findings at all. The South Bronx, where I live, is home to high rates of asthma and other health issues. Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano expressed his ongoing concern about the high rates of asthma in Hispanic communities across the nation as a new report was released by the American Lung Association today. The report, entitled Luchando Por El Aire: The Burden of Asthma on Hispanics, presents “an overview of research into the complex biological, environmental, political and cultural factors that increase the burden of asthma on Hispanics.” Serrano’s district in the Bronx suffers from extremely high rates of asthma and presents many of the factors that the new report highlighted. “This important new report confirms many theories that we have been working on in fighting asthma in the Bronx—and helps us to continue to work on them with the assurance that we are headed in the right direction,” said Congressman Serrano. “We know that poor air quality and lack of access to health care services can cause a devastating combination to populations that are predisposed to asthma. Our efforts to clean the air, and ensure health care for all people will help to bring down the unacceptably high rates of asthma in our community.” The report found that nationwide “compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics with asthma are less likely to be in the care of a regular doctor or clinic; less likely to be prescribed appropriate medicines; less likely to have access to specialized care; and more likely to end up being treated in the emergency department or hospitalized in a crisis.” It also found that “Hispanics are 165 percent more likely to live in counties with unhealthy levels of particulate matter pollution, and 51 percent more likely to live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone compared to non-Hispanic whites.” “The findings of the report are only shocking if you have not been paying attention to the asthma crisis in our community,” added Congressman Serrano. “We know that environmental injustice exacerbates underlying health problems and so yet again we are right in our call for the burden of environmental contamination to be lifted from the Bronx. Our community has absorbed more than its fair share of the unwanted activities in our City and yet we find we continue to have to fight against new pollutant sources and to get old ones retired and remediated.” Distressingly, Luchando Por El Aire noted that Hispanics of Puerto Rican descent, the second-largest Hispanic population in the U.S., “have higher rates of the disease than any other racial or ethnic group – twice as high as non-Hispanic whites.” Puerto Ricans, it seems, “have more underlying inflammation than other Hispanics, and respond less well to quick relief medicine.” “Our path forward on this issue is clear: we must continue to attack the injustices that cause our community to suffer from this debilitating condition—from the environmental problems, to lack of health care access, to poverty and beyond,” Serrano concluded. “Parents in our community are suffering from a huge burden as they deal with the asthma of their children or their other loved ones. We must remove the factors that cause this condition and help those who have it to control their attacks. The situation is at a crisis level in the Hispanic community and in the Bronx in particular. I hope this new report serves as a wakeup call and a call to action.” The full report can be accessed here: http://www.lungusa.org/lung-disease/disparities-reports/burden-of-asthma-on-hispanics/ source: press release The question now is what will be done, I agree with Serrano that this report is a call to action. I haven't heard anything yet.