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EPA Administrator Christie Whitman to Visit Local School to Discuss Asthma Program

Release Date: 4/24/2002
Contact Information:
EPA 303-312-6603,

Release Date: 4/24/2002
Contact Information:
EPA 800-227-8917
Salt Lake City – In anticipation of next month’s World Asthma Day, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman will be at Lowell Elementary School on Thursday to get an update on the “Open Airways for Schools” program, which is designed to teach children (ages 8-11) how to detect the warning signs of asthma and steps to help prevent an asthma attack. She also will discuss the related health and environmental benefits of the President’s Clear Skies Initiative.

    WHO: EPA Administrator - Christie Whitman
    EPA Region 8 Administrator - Robbie Roberts
    American Lung Association of Utah - Vicki Daniels

    WHEN: 2 p.m.; Thursday, April 25, 2002

    WHERE: Lowell Elementary School
    134 D St.; Salt Lake City, Utah

    WHAT: Open Airways for Schools is an EPA supported, nationally tested, asthma education program specifically designed for use in elementary schools. American Lung Association developed the curriculum and trains volunteers statewide teach the lessons during the school day. Through group discussions, stories, games and role-play, volunteers instruct children to better manage their asthma. Consistent themes taught throughout the course are that asthma is treatable, an episode doesn’t have to be a crisis and people with asthma can live normal lives. Children who have completed the program reportedly have experienced fewer and less severe asthma attacks and have improved their academic performance.

    Asthma afflicts an estimated 17.7 million Americans, including 8.6 million children. Since 1980, the biggest growth in asthma cases has been in children under five years-old. The disease is a leading cause of hospitalizations among children under the age of 15, and is the number one cause of school absenteeism – accounting for 10 million lost school days annually. The estimated annual cost of treating asthma for those under 18 years-old is $3.2 billion.