Clear the Air, Protect Our Lungs and Get Us Off the Top of the Nation’s Asthma Death List

Your zip code should not determine the quality of your health. Whether you live on Beacon Hill or in Worcester, MA, it should not be a privilege to breathe clean air. But that’s not the case for many Massachusetts residents who need an inhaler to ease asthma symptoms because of the poor air quality. We live in an asthma hot zone that’s getting hotter and crueler every year.  

Massachusetts is one of the worst places in the nation to live if you have asthma, with low-income citizens and communities of color bearing the brunt of the lung disease. In 2019, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Springfield as the country’s “asthma capital”; labeling it the most challenging city in the nation to live with asthma. Boston came in 8th and Worcester ranked 30th. The dismal rankings are based on asthma prevalence, emergency department visits due to asthma, and asthma-related fatalities. 

Poor air quality from industrial facilities as well as auto emissions from cars, trucks and buses in high-traffic areas are key contributors to the asthma epidemic, which nationally takes 10 lives each day. Sadly, our neighboring city, Boston, has the nation’s third-highest number of asthma-related deaths.

Read the full op-ed on the Worcester Telegram & Gazette website.