Electricity production in Michigan is contributing to health problems, especially for vulnerable children in our state, and we need to do something about that.
More than half of Michigan’s electricity currently comes from burning coal, which fills the air with dangerous pollutants: carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, such as soot and smog. These contaminants lead to numerous health issues and trigger asthma attacks and respiratory disease.
This is a particular concern for children. According to the Asthma Initiative of Michigan, of the 197,000 children with asthma in the state, 9.5% had two or more emergency department or urgent care visits for asthma in the last year alone. Overall, Michigan’s asthma rates are 10% higher than the national average, which is unacceptable. See the League’s latest fact sheet for more information.
Not only is the health of our families at risk, but the costs of emergency room visits and asthma treatments are setting families back — especially our most economically vulnerable. Children and adults living in low-income areas are four times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma-related complications, as coal-fired power plants tend to be in neighborhoods of low- to moderate-income populations.
Families who struggle to make ends meet as it is should not be burdened with the health and financial costs of contaminated air. It is time that we clear the air, and fortunately something can be done.
By adopting renewable energy solutions, such as wind and solar, Michigan has the opportunity to prevent 180 premature deaths and 680,000 cases of asthma irritations. Let’s urge our legislators to adopt cleaner energy options and support the Clean Power Plan today!
– Shannon Nobles