Those of us who run active, busy lives know just how hard it is to focus on keeping ourselves and our families healthy. And as more and more information becomes available about the health risks of dirty air and dirty water, staying up-to-date and informed about the dangers of pollution to our health is increasingly important.
Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s proposed 31% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget will not only cripple efforts to improve air and water quality across the United States, but it will also make it more difficult to stay informed about the day-to-day dangers of pollution. For those of us who rely on our time outside to stay active – whether by jogging, swimming, or taking our kids to the playground – we might be in for a rude awakening.
Air pollution from vehicles and industry, especially in urban areas, leads to an increased chance of heart and lung disease for runners. For children with asthma, polluted air leads to increased asthma attacks. Even in suburban areas, exhaust from lawn mowers, and chemicals used to treat weeds, can impact joggers’ respiratory health. And for the 125 million Americans who live in counties with unhealthy air quality, an awareness of these health risks is vital to keeping themselves and their kids safe.
But the Trump Administration’s proposed budget would essentially remove the “cop from the beat” by cutting EPA’s enforcement program by 40%, crippling its ability to enforce life-saving pollution regulations.
And it’s not just air – our lakes and beaches are also susceptible to dangerous bacterial pollution. The EPA spends $9.5 million every year to test the quality of many bodies of water across the country in which Americans enjoy swimming, providing vital safety information. But the proposed EPA cuts would eliminate this program completely, making it incredibly difficult for Americans to know when it is unsafe to swim.
For those who can’t (or chose not to) shell out hundreds for expensive city gym memberships or fitness classes, spending time outside is imperative to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. But with the proposed budget cuts, EPA – which is already at its lowest levels of funding in 40 years – will have lessened capacity to monitor air quality, inform the public of health risks, and enforce current regulations (that the Trump Administration is even now seeking to undo).