JUNE 8 — BOSTON, MA — The National Parents Union Issues Statement on Poor Air Quality in Northeastern United States:
“While Congress debates the critically important issues of drinking whole milk and gas stoves this week, parents and families are once again scrambling to deal with disrupted learning across the northeast for more than a million students due to poor air quality. In New Jersey, some of the largest districts have closed their schools entirely.
The safety of our children is the top priority for American families. Spending 24 hours in New York City is the equivalent of a child smoking six cigarettes under the current conditions – and children with asthma are literally struggling to breathe.
This moment requires urgent action from lawmakers to address the climate crisis- fires like the ones burning in Canada will continue to create air quality crises across the country like what the Northeast is experiencing now and we must prepare. Millions in federal ESSER and CDC funding is sitting unspent and set to expire on July 31st – while schools could have upgraded their air filtration systems knowing full well the importance of this after the COVID pandemic. As we continue to experience the negative impacts of climate change, school infrastructure, including air filtration, must be prioritized.
In fairness, NYC did spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on air purifiers. The problem? The devices didn’t use the filters recommended by the CDC and EPA to protect against the indoor spread of COVID. States like Washington, South Dakota, Virginia and Michigan have also failed to utilize funding or have purchased the wrong units to keep our kids safe.
So once again, parents and families are witnessing a mix of incompetence, laziness, and lack of foresight by policymakers that is putting the lives of our children in jeopardy. There are children across the eastern United States who cannot attend school today, cannot play outside and in some cases, cannot breathe as the result of adult inaction.
Leaders in Washington owe American families more- they owe us action to ensure that our kids have safe environments to learn, thrive and grow- our future depends on their willingness to act.” — Keri Rodrigues, NPU Co-Founder & President