AAFA Applauds EPA’s $1 Billion Investment in Clean School Buses to Benefit Millions of Children With Asthma
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) applauds the Biden Administration’s announcement of nearly $1 billion in awards for the Clean School Bus Program to 389 school districts across the country. The clean school bus program will help school districts transition to clean school bus fleets and will improve the health and learning of all children.
Washington D.C., October 26, 2022 — Today, the Biden Administration announced the first awards of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program. The nearly $1 billion in awards to 389 school districts is the first round of funding from the $5 billion, five-year program created in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) helped to promote the clean school bus program and is thrilled that the EPA nearly doubled the funding available this year due to the high demand from school districts. “This funding will allow school districts across the country to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution and will be especially beneficial to the nearly 6 million children in the United States with asthma,” says Kenneth Mendez, AAFA President and CEO. “Asthma is the most common chronic condition in children and one of the leading causes of hospitalizations and school absenteeism.”
Poor air quality and exposure to air pollution is a significant risk factor for asthma. Children are especially vulnerable to the dangerous impacts of air pollution like diesel exhaust because their respiratory systems are still developing. Yet, children are exposed to dirty, diesel-powered school buses daily on their way to and from school and are unfairly suffering the health and academic consequences.
AAFA applauds the program’s prioritization of low-income, rural, and tribal communities as neither air pollution nor asthma impact all communities equally. According to AAFA’s 2020 Asthma Disparities in America report, the burden of asthma in the US falls disproportionately on Black, Hispanic and Indigenous people. These groups have disproportionately high rates of poor asthma outcomes, including hospitalizations and deaths. Exposure to air pollution is also disproportionately experienced by low-income communities and communities of color.
In the U.S., the transportation sector is the leading contributor to air pollution and the largest source of climate pollution. Climate change is a public health emergency and communities across the nation are already experiencing the health impacts of climate change, including longer and more intense allergy seasons and increased asthma triggers like air pollution. Cleaning up the transportation sector is imperative for our most vulnerable populations both today and in the future.
Investments in clean vehicles and buses not only has the potential to transform the transportation sector, clean the air, and reduce asthma exacerbations in children, but it is also a strong step toward addressing environmental justice. AAFA will continue to support the transition to zero-emission school buses to ensure all children have safe air to breathe and environments to learn.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
Founded in 1953, AAFA is the oldest and largest non-profit patient organization dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions through research, education, advocacy and support. AAFA offers extensive support for individuals and families affected by asthma and allergic diseases, such as food allergies and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Through its online patient support communities, network of local chapters and affiliated support groups, AAFA empowers patients and their families by providing practical, evidence-based information and community programs and services. AAFA is the only asthma and allergy patient advocacy group that is certified to meet the standards of excellence set by the National Health Council. For more information, visit: aafa.org