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20 Aug 2022

Asthma Society calls for solid fuel regulation to protect kids who struggle to breathe

Asthma Society calls for solid fuel regulation to protect kids who struggle to breathe

Asthma Society calls for solid fuel regulation to protect kids who struggle to breathe

The lifelong health impacts of burning solid fuel on children with asthma is being highlighted by the Asthma Society of Ireland (ASI). 

The organisation is highlighting the issue ahead of Asthma Awareness Week, and is calling on all government and opposition parties to support Minister Eamon Ryan's proposed Solid Fuel Regulations in a bid to end what they say are preventable deaths caused by air pollution. 

Proposed regulations by ASI include the banning of smoky coal and wet wood for burning, as well as a prohibition on the commercial sale of sod turf. 

The group claims the move will save lives. 

Advocacy and Research Manager and Deputy CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, Eilís Ní Chaithnía, said, "Currently in Ireland, 380,000 people have asthma and one in ten children have asthma. Next week, the Asthma Society will mark Asthma Awareness Week by highlighting what it means to be a child with asthma and what it is like to have a child with asthma.

"The reality is, successive ministers have promised to prohibit smoky fuels. The longer these regulations are delayed, the greater the number of children across Ireland who will know what it’s like to struggle to breathe.” 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fine particle emissions from the burning of solid fuels is estimated to cause approximately 1,300 premature deaths in Ireland every year. 

An Amárach survey undertaken on behalf of the Asthma Society last year found 71% of respondents consider air pollution to be "damaging or extremely damaging" to their health. 

Ninety five percent of respondents know that air pollution can aggravate asthma symptoms. 

According to ASI, clinical research undertaken in Ireland has found direct correlation between spikes in poor air quality and increased hospital admissions for asthma exacerbations and heart disease. 

World Asthma Day on May 3 2022 marks the start of Asthma Awareness Week. 

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