Trisha DelloIacono from USA

In 2012, I was home with my two young children when a plume of vinyl chloride, a toxic and highly carcinogenic chemical, drifted through my New Jersey neighborhood. My sons began to complain of watery eyes, burning throats, and head pain, and I felt dizzy, tired, and clumsy. I found out on the news that 23,000 gallons of vinyl chloride had spilled following a train derailment in a nearby town.

I will never forget that day. My two young sons and I became extremely sick from this exposure–and my now 11-year-old suffers long term health effects. I have watched my son suffer uncontrollable nose bleeds, unexplainable memory loss, and a host of other health issues that may be a result of his toxic chemical exposure. It seems every year we uncover yet another symptom that can be correlated back to the polluted air he was exposed to when he was just 2 years old. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t question whether the next symptom we uncover will be cancer.

This disaster made me realize that you can’t buy clean air. While I did everything I could to protect my children from toxic chemicals in the products that I used on their skin and in the food that I fed them, I couldn’t buy them clean air. For that, we need policies and standards that put children’s health first. That’s why I decided to join with other moms and dads, with Moms Clean Air Force, to advocate for our kids.

I live in New Jersey, a manufacturing state, chock full of chemical facilities and factories. As a mom, bringing a new life into the world only reinvigorated my desire to create a better, cleaner, and safer world for the next generation. We have to fight for clean air for our babies, because if we don’t, no one else will.

As a mom to four young children and two stepkids, one of whom suffers from severe asthma and allergies, I feel it is my mission to fight for clean air.

I am concerned about climate change, and the air pollution that is fueling this crisis. Methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, is a powerful greenhouse gas pollutant that is significantly contributing to climate change. Air pollution created by oil and gas operations contributes to ozone smog that can damage lungs and trigger asthma attacks. Children bear the greatest burden from air pollution because their lungs are still developing and they spend a good portion of their time playing outdoors. My stepson, an avid athlete and junior in high school, is the one suffering when heat waves and high ozone days in the Northeast trigger his asthma attacks. Over 26 million people in the US—including more than 6 million children—suffer from asthma.

At a time when our country is battling a public health crisis that is especially lethal for those with respiratory trouble, it is vital that we are protecting public health and keeping everyone's air clean and safe to breathe. Cutting methane pollution from the oil and gas industry is essential to this effort.

Not only have I personally felt the urgency to take action that comes with new motherhood, I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the country to talk to other new and expecting moms about the ways that they too can change our world. It’s been truly inspiring to witness the intense love that moms have for their kids and the way it drives them to protect the air those little lungs breathe.

No mother should have to worry if the air their child is breathing is safe for them to play outside.

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