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POLITICS: White House

There are better ways to fight asthma, school absenteeism than proposed EPA carbon rules

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,White House,Health,Climate Change,EPA,Spencer Brown

An infographic created by the White House features a list of benefits it claims Americans will experience as carbon emissions are limited under the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed new rules.

Among them are breathing easier, missing less school, living longer, staying out of the hospital, and working more. Of course, these benefits won't be experienced until 2030 when the full impact of the new regulations are in play. Does that mean for the next 15 years we'll be struggling to breathe, stuck in the hospital, missing work and school, and dying young?

In any case, the White House's attempt to garner more support shows the triviality of the president's goal of 25 percent less smog and soot.

For example, the White House claims the new rules would stop 150,000 asthma attacks by cutting carbon emissions. But it fails to note many of the substances that can trigger asthma and its associated attacks are naturally occurring. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, these include: pollen, mold, pet dander, cockroach droppings, paint, gasoline, scented soaps, the flu, exercise, cold air, fear or excitement, and aspirin. If the White House really wants to stop asthma attacks, there's a laundry list of irritants to start limiting.

Next, the White House claims its crusade to cut carbon will cause kids to miss an estimated 180,000 fewer days of school than they do now in our allegedly putrid world. According to a 2012 report from the Ad Council, nearly 7.5 million American students miss 18 or more days of class each year. Quick multiplication of these two figures reveals 135 million days of school are missed by American students each year. Again just some quick math shows that the president's saving amounts to 0.13 percent of the total missed days. If keeping kids in school is a goal of the Obama administration, surely officials can find a way to increase the impact.

The president's plan to cap carbon emissions has met with strong Republican opposition and less-than-stellar reviews from Democrats who are running in a tough election cycle. It appears the White House infographic team has come up with its best attempt at making an emotional plea by citing the children and their well-being.

But if the Obama administration were to be serious about preventing asthma or improving education, it seems there would be a better, or at least faster, way to do so.

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Author:

Spencer Brown

Special to the Examiner
The Washington Examiner