Congressman Capuano Cosponsors Asthma Awareness Act

May 26, 1999 -- U.S. Representative Mike Capuano (8th district, MA) has signed on as an original sponsor of the Asthma Awareness, Education and Treatment Act.

The legislation was introduced today by Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA) and will help combat asthma in inner-city and minority communities. "I have suffered from asthma all my life and understand the difficulties caused by this affliction. The Congresswoman's legislation will help communities provide more comprehensive services for asthmatics, particularly children, who often avoid sports or other activities that may trigger an asthma attack," Congressman Capuano stated.

This legislation authorizes $8 million each year from FY 2000 through FY 2005 to the Department of Health and Human Services. It would establish a grant to reach out to inner-city, low-income and minority communities for the purposes of fighting asthma. Initiatives include: asthma and allergy screenings; education programs for parents and teachers; tax incentives for pest control and air control businesses to alleviate the suffering of asthmatic children; and community outreach through non-traditional medical settings, including schools and welfare offices.

Asthma is more prevalent among all age groups in lower income families and the asthma death rate is four times higher for African-American children. The cost to Americans of the increasing rate of asthma in children, which rose by 160% from 1980 to 1994, was close to $12 billion last year.

"A critical component of decreasing the asthma death rate in this country is education and today's legislation gives communities the tools to begin increasing awareness," Congressman Capuano stated.