United States                       Indoor Environments Division                EPA 402-F-04-019
           Environmental Protection Agency        Office of Air and Radiation (6609J)            May 2007
Asthma is a rapidly growing public health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention:

 22 million people, including 6.5 million children, have asthma.

       * Asthma prevalence is higher among families with lower incomes.

 12 million people report having an asthma attack in the past year.

 Asthma accounts for nearly 15 million outpatient clinic visits, and nearly 2 million emergency department
  visits each year.

 African Americans continue to have higher rates of asthma emergency department visits, hospitalizations,
  and deaths than do Caucasians:

        * The rate of emergency department visits is 350% higher.
        * The hospitalization  rate  is 240% higher.
        * The asthma death rate is 200% higher.

 Approximately 2 million Hispanics in the U.S. have asthma and Puerto Ricans are disproportionately
  impacted:

        *The rate of asthma among Puerto Ricans is 125% higher than non-Hispanic white people and
           80% higher than non-Hispanic black people.
        * The prevalence of asthma attacks is highest among Puerto Ricans.

Asthma in Children:

 Asthma is the most common serious  chronic disease of childhood.

 Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among children under 15.

 Asthma in children is the cause of seven million physician visits and nearly 200,000 hospitalizations.

        * Asthma accounts for one-third of all pediatric emergency room visits and is the fourth-most
           common cause of pediatric visits to the doctor's office.

        * An average of one out of every 13 school-aged child has asthma.

        * Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism from a chronic childhood condition.

        * 13 million school days are missed each year due to asthma.

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The Cost of Asthma:

 Annual expenditures for health and lost productivity due to asthma are estimated at $16 billion, according
   to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.


Asthma and the Environment: Research by EPA and others has shown that

 Dust mites, molds, cockroaches, pet dander, and secondhand smoke trigger asthma attacks.

 Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause asthma in pre-school aged children.

 Exposure to dust mites can cause asthma.

 Ozone and particle pollution can cause asthma attacks.

       * When ozone levels are high, more people with asthma have attacks that require a doctor's
           attention.
       * Ozone makes people more sensitive to asthma triggers such as pet dander, pollen, dust mites,
           and mold.

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