The Billings Outpost

Toward cleaner air

The president’s decision to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particle Pollution is a cause for celebration. More stringent limits on the amount of particulate matter allowed to enter the air we breathe will provide life-changing benefits, especially to those with lung disease.

Extremely harmful to the respiratory system, this pollutant can trigger severe asthma attacks and places a strain on our healthcare system by increasing the number of patients seeking emergency room care thereby leading to greater hospitalization rates. Those with lung disease are not the only ones who suffer. Breathing particle pollution can be lethal and cause serious illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes.

Every day in my clinical practice, I see the undeserved pain and suffering caused by respiratory diseases like asthma and COPD. It’s refreshing to have the president stand as an ally to those of us on the front lines of patient care. Despite tremendous advances in the field of pharmacology, there is no prescription that can completely conceal the ill effects of dirty air.

This critical move toward a healthy air future is a tremendous quality of life improvement for not only my patients, but for all of us who breathe.

Dr. Robert Merchant

Billings Clinic

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