EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 1, 2013

Letter: Budget cuts could worsen air quality

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

As a parent of a child with asthma and heart disease, I cringe at the thought of cuts to the funding of air quality monitoring and enforcement due to sequestration, set to take effect today. It’s estimated that Massachusetts will lose $4 million in environmental funding.

As my son was growing up, I needed to watch air-quality reports, and when we heard air-quality warnings, we restricted his time outside. It was essential for his heart and also for his asthma. Air pollution is a known trigger of asthma attacks. And while some might think that asthma is easily managed with an inhaler, I can attest firsthand to it being far more serious, often involving emergency rooms and inpatient admissions.

It is terrifying to watch your child struggle to breathe and not something I would wish for any parent. One in 10 children in our state has asthma and their parents have the right-to-know what the air pollution levels are in their communities in order to keep their kids safe.

A second concern is the cut to funding for enforcement of air pollution laws. It’s common sense that without enforcement, laws don’t get followed — think highway speed traps versus none.

Across the board budget cuts are reckless and harmful to the many vulnerable people who rely on this funding to protect them.

Diane Pickles