BREATHE LA Receives Critical Funding from Port of Long Beach to Help Children’s Respiratory Health

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New Initiative Provides Long-Awaited Support to Reduce Asthmatic and Lung Related Illnesses

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BREATHE LA will be working closely with the children of Long Beach CA, specifically living within a 3 mile radius of the Port of Long Beach, to address and help reduce asthma and lung health problems over the next three years.

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BREATHE LA will be working closely with the children of Long Beach CA, specifically living within a 3 mile radius of the Port of Long Beach, to address and help reduce asthma and lung health problems over the next three years. The goal is to decrease school absenteeism, reduce hospitalizations and promote personal responsibility of the surrounding environment. To facilitate this call-to-action, BREATHE LA received a $355,874 grant on April 18, 2011 from the Port of Long Beach Harbor Commissioners as part of a $5 million funding project through the Port of Long Beach Mitigation Grant Program, instituted to address respiratory health challenges facing the nearby community.

BREATHE LA will utilize its O24u program to improve the lung health of children in Long Beach, where 21.9% of children are reported to have asthma according to the LBACA Asthma Report Card. O24u environmental health education activities will take place onsite at 36 elementary schools. Developed by educators and registered Respiratory Therapists, O24u has been approved by local school officials, youth organizations, and physicians as an effective environmental education and asthma management program. BREATHE LA health educators train school facilitators to ensure their understanding and ability to teach the curriculum to children. Organizations to be involved in BREATHE LA’s O24u program funded by the Port include Long Beach WRAP Afterschool Program, Boys and Girls Club, ICES, LBUSD, YMCA, Campfire, City of Long Beach and Long Beach Community Action Partnership. BREATHE LA will also hold special sessions with parents living in the area to reinforce key lessons.

“BREATHE LA’s O24u grant will go to health programs that directly help the people most affected by air pollution from the goods movement industry,” said Nick Sramek, president of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “We continue to work to reduce air pollution at the source, but the BREATHE LA and other new mitigation grants help us address the overall effects of the Port’s presence.”

The primary short-term impact will be increased education and information for children and parents regarding airborne toxic emissions causes, effects and future reduction plans. The O24u program will also foster positive attitude and behaviors that further sustainability and greater lung health. At the outcome of this three-year program, BREATHE LA seeks to achieve a 10% - 15% decrease in absenteeism of students undiagnosed with asthma, which translates to 152 missed school days. In addition, this program aims to reduce of emergency room visits and hospitalizations relating to asthma, which would allow the City of Long Beach to save a potential of $2.7 million.*

“Support from the Port of Long Beach provides a large step to help BREATHE LA accomplish its mission to make the Los Angeles region a much healthier and safer place to live,” stated Dr. Richard Barbers, pulmonary specialist, Chair of the Breathe LA Board of Directors and Professor of Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC.

BREATHE California of Los Angeles County (BREATHE LA) is non-profit public benefit organization dedicated to the future of clean air and healthy lungs in Los Angeles County. BREATHE LA was established in 1903 and has over a century of accomplishments. Our mission is to promote clean air and healthy lungs through research, education and technology. For more information, please visit http://www.BreatheLA.org.

*UCLA California Health Interview Survey data 2005: Long Beach/South Bay area children with asthma report approximately 30% missed 1-2 days of school. Of those undiagnosed, 61% missed at least one day of school due to breathing issues, 19% missed 3-4 days, 12% missed 5-10 days, and 9% missed more than 11 days.

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Dan Witzling
BREATHE LA
323-935-8050 288
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