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VIDEO: Harder Pushes Experts on Childhood Asthma Epidemic in Central Valley

WASHINGTON — Today, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) pushed expert witnesses on what the government is doing to research and develop programs related to childhood asthma and asthma broadly. He pointed to the fact that many cities in the Central Valley are classified as some of the most polluted in the country, that one out of every six children have asthma in the Valley, and the negative impact wildfires pose on the quality of air across the region as to why this issue is so important. Rep. Harder himself suffered from childhood asthma growing up in Turlock.

Click here for a video of his remarks and expert responses available for public use.

Read his full remarks below:

“Asthma and air quality are two interconnected issues in my district. Many of the cities in the Central Valley are classified as the most polluted cities in the US for both particulate matter and ozone pollution.  This has direct impacts on the health of my constituents, especially for children. One in six children in the San Joaquin Valley have asthma – the highest in the state – and asthma prevalence across the Valley has reached as high as twenty percent in school age children. I myself had childhood asthma as a kid, my brother had it, it’s incredibly heartbreakingly common in the Valley. In fact, between 2008 and 2016, Stanislaus County had higher rates of emergency department visits for asthma (between 43.7 and 50.4 per 100,000) compared to the whole of California. Add into the mix the devastating wildfires in California and the respiratory impacts of COVID-19, our health care system is deeply impacted, and costs are high. And yet it seems like we haven’t necessarily made many breakthroughs in asthma research in recent decades and many Americans are resistant to asthma therapies.

Dr. Gibbons, as the Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, what can you tell the Committee about the use of federal funds to research and develop programming to address childhood asthma and asthma more broadly? Is there more Congress could be doing to assist in this programming?” […]

“Dr. Collins, in the President’s budget there is a proposed $110 million for the NIH’s Climate Change and Human Health program aimed to understand the health impacts of climate change. Could you describe some research projects that might come from this part of the budget, especially ones that focus on the health outcomes related to poor air quality and how it impacts underserved communities like my district?”


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