New Report, Electric Vehicles and Clean Power Would Prevent 148,000 Asthma Attacks in Pennsylvania Kids

A new report, “Boosting Health for Children: Benefits of Zero-Emission Transportation and Electricity,” released by the American Lung Association, highlights that a widespread transition to zero-emission vehicles and electricity would dramatically improve the health of children in Pennsylvania. The transition would prevent 148,000 pediatric asthma attacks and thousands of other respiratory symptoms in Pennsylvania by 2050.

The new report is based on projected health impacts if all new passenger vehicles sold are zero-emission by 2035 and all new trucks sold are zero-emission by 2040. It also projects that the nation’s electric grid will be powered by clean, non-combustion renewable energy by 2035. Nationally, transition to zero-emission transportation powered by clean non-combustion energy would help prevent 2.79 million pediatric asthma attacks and save more than 500 infant lives by 2050.

For Pennsylvania, the transition to zero-emission transportation powered by clean non-combustion energy from 2020 to 2050 would prevent up to:

  • 148,000 pediatric asthma attacks
  • 141,000 pediatric upper respiratory symptoms
  • 98,900 pediatric lower respiratory symptoms

“Here in Pennsylvania, transportation is the leading source of air pollution that impacts public health and the biggest source of carbon pollution that drives climate change. Our children’s health and well-being are greatly affected by that pollution, and as the results of climate change intensify, it will impact their futures,” said Aimee VanCleave, Director of Advocacy at the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania. “We urge Pennsylvania to join the growing list of states to enact the Advanced Clean Trucks standards to curb diesel exhaust and bring more zero-emission trucks home to improve the health of our children and their futures.”

Pennsylvania recently secured over $40 million in federal funding to address methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. Pennsylvania must continue to cut down on the harms of fossil fuels by accelerating the use of non-combustion, renewable energy and zero-emission transportation technologies.

The School District of Philadelphia recently secured federal funding to double its electric bus fleet. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must follow local efforts to provide a healthier, cleaner environment for our children.

According to the 2023 “State of the Air” report, nationally, more than 27 million children under age 18 live in counties that received a failing grade for unhealthy levels of at least one air pollutant. Almost 4.3 million children live in counties failing all three measures. Children with asthma and other lung diseases are at greater risk. In fact, 1.7 million children with asthma live in counties that received an F for at least one pollutant. Low-income communities and many communities of color too often bear disproportionate burdens from air pollution broadly, and transportation pollution, specifically. Kids in these communities are at greater risk.