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Mission Health in Asheville, N.C. Wins 2012 National Environmental Leadership Award

Release Date: 05/01/2012
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421,

ATLANTA – As part of Asthma Awareness Month, EPA is honoring Mission Health in Asheville, N.C. with the 2012 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management. Mission Health was awarded for their efforts to improve the lives of people with asthma in underserved communities across the country. Other winners include: Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, Conn.; L.A. Care Health Plan, Los Angeles, Calif.; and Michigan Department of Community Health’s Asthma Prevention and Control Program, Lansing, Mich.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also encouraging Americans to take action against asthma by learning more about the disease and how it affects their families and communities. Nearly 26 million Americans, including more than 7 million children, are affected by this chronic respiratory disease, including low income and minority populations at the highest rates.

The annual economic cost of asthma, including direct medical costs from hospital stays and indirect costs such as lost school and work days, amount to about $56 billion. Through the Clean Air Act, EPA has helped prevent millions of asthma attacks across the country and continues to work alongside federal, state and local partners to address this nationwide problem. In 2010 alone, pollution prevention standards under the Clean Air Act lead to reductions in fine particle matter and ozone pollution that prevented more than 1.7 million incidences of asthma attacks. Recent standards, such as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, will further reduce air pollution and help prevent asthma attacks.

Americans who suffer from asthma can learn to control their symptoms and still maintain active lifestyles. Here are some simple steps:

Know your Asthma Triggers and Avoid Them: Air pollution, dust mites, mold, secondhand smoke and even cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks. Learn your triggers and avoid them in your home and neighborhood.

Create an Asthma Action Plan: You can help avoid the emergency room by managing your asthma daily. With a doctor's help, you can create an asthma action plan to help you effectively manage your asthma and reduce exposure to triggers.

Get Active: Even if you have asthma, by taking the appropriate medications and avoiding your triggers, you can still participate in sports and activities.

Be 'Air Aware': Check local air quality conditions at and make informed decisions about participating in outdoor activities. To help, an Air Quality Index mobile app is available for smart phones.

More on Asthma and the 2012 Award winners:

More on the Air Quality Index Mobile App: