Meeting to discuss high ozone levels on Monday
Next week, a panel of doctors and air quality experts will answer questions parents have about the health effects of ozone on young children.
Non-profit group Save The Air in Nevada County will sponsor the event, titled “Living with Ozone – How to Keep Your Children Safe.” The meeting will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, July 23 at the Nevada County Board of Realtors Esterly Hall, 336 Crown Point Circle in Grass Valley.
The purpose of the meeting is to “explore what the situation is and what the options are,” said Dr. Jeff Kane, founder of Nevada County Breathers. He will present a slide show with state and county statistics showing the health effects poor air quality has on the developing respiratory systems of children.
This year, the American Lung Association ranked Nevada County 13th worst in the nation for high ozone levels.
High ozone can cause asthma and exacerbate the disorder, Kane said.
Children ages 10 to 18 who were raised in areas with high ozone levels developed hampered lung growth, according to a 2002 Children’s Health Study published by the Department of Preventative Health from the University of Southern California School of Medicine Department.
The study also found children living in high ozone environments had less lung function by the time they reached age 18.
“They can’t run as far. Basically, their lungs don’t work as well,” Kane said. “And here’s the kicker, they think the changes are irreversible. That’s what scares parents here,” he said.
The rate of Nevada County kids with asthma grew from 10.5 percent in 2001 to 17.3 percent in 2003, about one in six, according to a phone survey conducted by the First Five California Children and Families Commission. Statewide, 13.3 percent of children have asthma.
“The good news is five out of six kids don’t have asthma,” in Nevada County, Kane said. “Most kids don’t have asthma. Most kids will never get asthma,” he said.
Besides Kane, Monday night’s panel will include: Asthma and allergy specialist Dr. Michael McCormick, MD; Certified Asthma Educator Jan Tippett, RN; Joe Fish of Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District and Marina Bernheimer, mother and co-founder of STA in NC.
For more information contact Ed Welch at 265-5949 or 559-1486.
To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail lbrown@the union.com or call 477-4231.
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