Girl with gas mask.National health organizations are not scoffing at the link between pollution and asthma.Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

As my colleague David Doniger explained, there’s a new pollution promoter on the scene, and his name is Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). Barrasso has introduced a bill (S. 228) that would allow unlimited carbon dioxide pollution and dismiss by Congressional fiat the scientific understanding of the life-threatening health threats posed by CO2 pollution.

Barrasso takes his place next to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), whom the The Hill reports is once again trying to persuade his colleagues to sign onto his bill to stop the EPA’s public health protections in its tracks.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!

I blogged last week about how members of Congress who sign up to stop the EPA’s work of protecting our health are putting their constituents and Americans at greater risk for a wide range of health effects, including one that so many people are familiar with: asthma attacks. Some members questioned the link. For instance, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) scoffed at the notion that climate change could impact asthma sufferers, saying, “The NRDC’s connection between greenhouse gasses and asthma is a reach at best.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

But it isn’t a reach for the nation’s leading health experts and organizations, who last fall told Congress as much in a public letter, saying:

Far too many of our nation’s children, elderly, and people with asthma, cardiovascular and lung diseases and diabetes live under added threats to their health from breathing polluted air and the impacts of global warming.

(Signers to this letter are too many to list right in the middle of a blog. Check at the bottom for the list.)

My colleague Kim Knowlton has discussed these and other health connections several times (here, here, here, and here).

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

So, let’s get back to who is putting America’s 24 million asthmatics — including over 7 million children — at greater risk of having to be rushed to the emergency room gasping for breath. Here’s a quick rundown of the newest bad air bill cosponsors, the number of asthmatics in their state, and how much money they’ve taken from polluters during their careers:

graphClick for a larger version. [PDF]


Here’s the list of the national health organizations signed on to the letter I referenced: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, American Thoracic Society, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Children’s Environmental Health Network , Health Occupations Students of America, National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Environmental Health Association, National Home Oxygen Patients Association, National Physicians Alliance, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Prevention Institute, Public Health Institute, and the Trust for America’s Health.