By Ramon Gonzalez, TreeHugger
On World Asthma Day, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America named Memphis, Tennessee the new Asthma Capital of the U.S. According to the AAFA, more than 300 million people worldwide are living with asthma and nearly 25 million of them live here in the U.S.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes asthma as a disorder that causes the airways of lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.
Top Asthma Capitals for 2012
To create their top 10 cities list for 2012, researchers looked at 12 sets of data for the 100 largest U.S. cities. The cities were ranked based on factors like air pollution, ozone days, pollen counts, medication use, poverty rates and public smoking laws.
1. Memphis, TN
2. New Haven, CT
3. Knoxville, TN
4. Pittsburgh, PA
5. Chattanooga, TN
6. Hartford, CT
7. St. Louis, MO
8. Oklahoma City, OK
9. McAllen, TX
10. Allentown, PA
Next: What should you do if you live in an asthma capital? Where does your city rank?
If you live in one of these cities, should you pack your bags and move? Since all cities have a variety of risk factors of asthma, the AAFA recommends working with an asthma specialist to improve your overall asthma management plan.
Stephen Ashkin, who is known as the “father of Green Cleaning” in the professional cleaning industry, points out that many conventional cleaning chemicals can trigger asthma attacks among school children.
“This is why so many schools were early pioneers in [adopting] Green Cleaning products and practices,” says Ashkin, in a statement released by The Ashkin Group on this year’s asthma rankings.
“And [asthma] is still the most common health reason for repeated absences from schools,” adds Ashkin, “which tells me we still have a ways to go in cleaning and maintaining our schools in a healthier, more environmentally preferable manner.”
If your child’s school hasn’t switched to using green cleaning products, work with fellow parents to lobby the school to make changes. While you wait: here are 10 recommendations for eco-friendly all-purpose cleaners for a toxic chemical-free home.
My civic pride always takes a blow whenever Chicago makes it onto a list we can’t brag about. So it is important to point out that the Asthma Capitals list is intended to raise awareness about asthma and, hopefully, inspire us to advocate for improvements in our cities. To see the how your city ranked see the detailed rankings for 100 metro areas in the U.S.
Is your city an asthma capital, clean and free, or somewhere in between? Tell us in the comments!