Black and Hispanic Children Suffer Disproportionately from Asthma and Climate Change is Making It Worse

Laonis Quinn of Breathe: Anthony J. Chapman Asthma Foundation showing a photo of her son Tony Quinn who died at the age of 23 in 2007 of an asthma attack. (Quinn Banks, Detroit Free Press)

Ever since they were infants, LaRae Cantley’s four children were constantly in and out of the emergency room, because they couldn’t breathe.

Each have respiratory problems, and two suffer from asthma. Cantley always carried around breathing treatment instructions and regularly went to the hospital for her children’s treatments.

“I thought that was normal,” she said. “I thought every child had that, or every parent was experiencing that in the first stages of a newborn’s life.”

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The South Los Angeles family lives in a low-income Black and brown housing community. The apartment has no air conditioning, and hot weather can exacerbate asthma and respiratory conditions. On hot sunny days, her 12-year-old son Royalty can’t play outside or join in P.E.

“He cannot do these certain physical activities in the sun,” Cantley said of her son, who has bronchiectasis, a chronic condition where airways widen resulting in coughing and fluid buildup. Similarly, her daughter was forced to running track due to her asthma.

Lainisha Pounds, also a Los Angeles mom, said her daughter suffered frequent episodes of trouble breathing as a child.

“It was so hard seeing her little body not being able to breathe,” she said.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Nada Hassanein

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