World Asthma Day: NY Renews Report Sheds Light on NY Health Crisis

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***: May 7, 2019

Contact: Arielle Swernoff | (646) 450-5461 |

Web: @NYRenews |

World Asthma Day: NY Renews Report Sheds Light on NY Health Crisis

Continued reliance on fossil fuels not only damages our climate, but also creates a public health crisis in New York’s communities

NY Renews — a coalition of over 170 environmental justice, labor, and community organizing groups across the state — today issued the following statement regarding World Asthma Day and the relationship between asthma and climate pollution.

“Our continued reliance on fossil fuels not only warms our planet, but contributes to asthma and other public health crises on a daily basis. Low-income communities and communities of color are most likely to suffer the adverse impacts of climate pollution, including asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

“In the South Bronx, 20-30% of children will suffer from asthma at some point in their lives, more than three times the national average. This is directly related to the practice of siting polluting infrastructure, such as highways, power plants, and waste transfer stations, in low income communities and communities of color.

“New York State must take bold action to transition our state off of fossil fuels -- not just for a livable future for the planet, but for healthy air in our communities today.”

A recent report by NY Renews, Demos, and the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance on climate change in Latinx communities found that the asthma effects of climate pollution hit New York’s Latinx communities and communities of color especially hard. Relevant findings include:

  • According to the American Lung Association, 8 New York counties are rated “F” for ground-level asthma-causing pollutants. Seven of these eight counties—Bronx, Queens, New York, Suffolk, Westchester, Richmond, and Erie Counties–are home to more than 2.5 million Latinx residents. The total is more than 3 million if Kings County (Brooklyn) and Nassau County are included (these counties are not rated by the ALA due to insufficient monitoring).

  • One in 8 New Yorkers is diagnosed with asthma during his or her lifetime, including 1.3 million adults and nearly 400,000 children.

  • In 2012-2013, asthma-related Medicaid costs in New York State totaled more than $530 million, and asthma’s effect in driving up insurance premiums totaled $1.3 billion.

  • In the South Bronx, one of New York’s most polluted neighborhoods due to highways, waste transfer stations, and power plants, 20-30 percent of children suffer from asthma at some point in their lives, more than 3 times the national rate.

  • By mandating reductions in not just greenhouse gas emissions, but co-pollutants as well, the Climate and Community Protection Act works to reduce asthma and respiratory illness in New York State’s vulnerable communities.

The full report can be found here:

About the Climate and Community Protection Act:

The Climate and Community Protection Act is a landmark climate justice bill that creates a green economy while investing in good jobs and racial and economic justice. It establishes aggressive mandates to ensure New York achieves a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the next 30 years, keeping the state in line with UN warnings to avoid catastrophic global warming. The CCPA also includes the country’s most progressive jobs and equity provisions of any green legislation in the country. Under the CCPA, 40% of state energy and climate funds used to propel the transition must be invested in low-income communities and communities of color. In addition, the CCPA would attach fair labor standards, including prevailing wage standards, to green projects receiving state funding.  

The CCPA has passed the New York State Assembly in the past three legislative sessions by large margins, and is currently sponsored by a majority of State Senators. This year, both Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins have pointed to CCPA as the way forward for climate policy in NY.

About NY Renews:

NY Renews is a nonpartisan coalition of over 170 member organizations. The coalition seeks a sustainable future for the earth and its people, recognizing that climate change represents a threat to all and especially to vulnerable people such as workers, people of color, seniors, youth, and the poor. NY Renews believes that the climate crisis and the inequality crisis can be solved with the same set of policies, and that climate protection must serve as a means to challenge racial injustice and bring about greater economic equity.

The NY Renews Steering Committee includes: 32BJ SEIU, ALIGN -- Alliance for a Greater New York, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Center for Working Families, Citizen Action of New York, Demos, Environmental Advocates of New York, GreenFaith, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Make the Road New York, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, People’s Climate Movement NY, PUSH Buffalo, Sierra Club, Teamsters Local Council 16, and UPROSE.


NY Renews