In the first national awareness survey on environmental asthma triggers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that fewer than 30 percent of people with asthma are taking simple steps to reduce exposure to asthma triggers. Exposure to asthma triggers such as secondhand smoke, cockroaches, dust mites, mold, and ozone can cause asthma in young children or set off asthma attacks.
"The more we know about controlling and avoiding asthma triggers, the more we can prevent asthma and asthma attacks," EPA Administrator Steve Johnson said. "That's why EPA is raising awareness and encouraging those with asthma to work with their physicians to identify their asthma triggers and to follow EPA's recommendations to reduce their exposure."
May 3 is World Asthma Day. In addition to announcing the survey findings, today EPA recognized the outstanding asthma health care practices of two leading providers and launched a national asthma awareness media campaign, in partnership with the Ad Council.
EPA presented the first National Environmental Leadership Awards in Asthma Management to Optima Health Plan of Southeastern Virginia and Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics of Kansas City, Mo. These programs represent the leading edge in asthma care by providing their patients with education, resources, and services for managing environmental asthma triggers.
To educate parents of children with asthma, EPA, in partnership with the Ad Council, is also releasing a new public awareness media campaign, describing simple steps parents can take to reduce asthma triggers commonly found in homes, daycares, and schools. The new television, radio, newspaper and outdoor public service announcements (PSAs) are the third phase of the Childhood Asthma campaign, launched in March of 2001. The PSAs highlight sources of environmental asthma triggers and simple steps parents can take to reduce their children's exposure. The new PSAs encourage parents to call 1-866-NOATTACKS or visit http://www.noattacks.org for more information on preventing asthma attacks. The PSAs are available in English and Spanish and will be distributed to media outlets nationwide.
Of the approximately 20 million Americans with asthma, more than six million are children. The disease remains one of the leading causes of emergency room visits and school absenteeism for children. Although there is no known cure for asthma, there are ways to reduce the number of attacks, including avoiding exposure to environmental asthma triggers at home, school and other places where children spend their time.