EPA Marks Asthma Awareness Month and Honors National Leader in the Fight Against Asthma Disparities


Maine Asthma Prevention and Control Program Recognized as National Model

WASHINGTON – Every year in May, EPA marks Asthma Awareness Month to raise national awareness of asthma and to highlight leading programs across the nation that serve as models for delivering outstanding improvements in asthma care and quality of life for people with asthma.

“Growing up with respiratory challenges in North Carolina, I know all too well the struggle that millions of Americans suffer daily. Asthma is a public health issue, an economic issue, and an environmental issue that impacts the entire country, especially low-income and minority communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “That’s why EPA is taking action to slash harmful pollution and raise awareness of the tools available for communities to manage asthma, control symptoms, and improve health.”

Asthma is a major public health issue that affects more than 25 million Americans, including four million children, and disproportionately affects certain racial and ethnic groups. The estimated economic impact of asthma is more than $80 billion per year from direct and indirect costs, such as missed school and workdays.

Fortunately, there are steps people can take as part of a comprehensive approach to manage their asthma, control symptoms, and improve health. These include following a personalized action plan to help manage asthma and avoiding triggers that can exacerbate symptoms.

EPA is taking action to reduce the pollution that causes asthma attacks while more communities, with EPA support, deploy approaches to improve the lives of people with asthma, especially in minority and low-income communities.

People can control asthma symptoms and improve health with three straightforward strategies:

  1. Identify and avoid indoor environmental asthma triggers. Dust mites, secondhand smoke, mold, pests, pet dander and other allergens and contaminants in homes, schools and other indoor spaces can trigger asthma attacks. Work with your health care provider to identify and avoid your personal indoor asthma triggers.
  2. Pay attention to outdoor air quality. Ozone and particle pollution can cause or worsen asthma attacks, even indoors. Check local air quality conditions at AirNow.gov and download the EPA AirNow app for your phone.
  3. Create a personalized asthma action plan. This will help you monitor your or your child’s asthma and take steps to reduce exposure to personal asthma triggers. Ask a health care provider to assist you in creating a plan.

During Asthma Awareness Month, EPA recognizes leading asthma management programs for their in-home interventions through the National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management. The 2024 winner is the Maine Asthma Prevention and Control Program.

Maine’s program provides leadership and coordination for asthma care and service delivery statewide. One of MAPC’s initiatives is the In-Home Asthma Education Program, an innovative, home-based asthma program for adults, children and caregivers who, despite adequate medical management, have asthma that was not well controlled. The program connects those most in need with environmental asthma remediation tools and community resources through health educators who are highly attuned to the disparities that exist in asthma management.

EPA works year-round to promote understanding of asthma triggers, as a part of comprehensive asthma management, through research, education and outreach. With support from EPA, more communities are deploying approaches to improve the lives of people with asthma, especially in minority and low-income communities. A focus of EPA’s work to reduce the scope of asthma is addressing the Indoor Environmental Determinants of Health. IEDOH are modifiable environmental factors indoors — such as household air pollution, the presence of pests, mold and moisture, chemicals and irritants — that influence risk and experience of chronic diseases, like asthma.

In addition to EPA’s work in raising asthma awareness, EPA is taking action to reduce the pollution that causes asthma attacks. In recent months, EPA has finalized strengthened pollution standards for cars, trucks, and power plants — as well as stronger air quality standards for particulate matter — that once fully implemented, are anticipated to prevent tens of thousands of cases of asthma each year and avoid millions of lost days of school and work due to asthma symptoms.

With funding from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, EPA is also working to improve the lives of millions of Americans by reducing pollution in neighborhoods where people live, work, play, and go to school. EPA is providing billions of dollars through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act to help schools and communities purchase clean school buses and clean heavy-duty vehicles that will reduce the air pollution from older diesel engines that is linked to asthma. Phasing out these older diesel engines, which disproportionally affect communities of color and Tribal communities, will ensure cleaner air for students and communities near these transportation routes. In addition, projects developed under the Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and the Climate Pollution Reduction Grants Program are expected to fund projects that will provide even more clean-air benefits.