Asthma Society of Canada will clear the air during 2nd World Asthma Day Conference

Summit to focus on the impact of climate change on asthma and allergies in Canada

TORONTO, April 30, 2015 /CNW/ - Asthma rates worldwide are climbing with about 70 per cent of those affected having related respiratory allergies.1 Climate change is exacerbating respiratory symptoms across Canada congesting our health care system, obstructing our economy and, of course, suffocating individuals across provinces and territories.2,3 Canadians living with asthma and other lung problems have shorter life expectancy due to air pollution and the effects of climate change.

The Asthma Society of Canada is holding its Second World Asthma Day Conference, May 4th and 5th in Toronto bringing together leaders from government, industry, academia and the not-for-profit sectors, along with patients and caregivers, to examine the effects of climate change on asthma and respiratory allergies and to issue a call-to-action for decision makers.

Interview and photo opportunities during the Clearing the Air SummitOntario's Minster of the Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Glen Murray, is the keynote speaker. The Clearing the Air summit will provide a forum for expert analysis and dialogue on the state of allergies and asthma in Canada; current challenges due to climate change; and the potential impact of climate change on patients, primary care health providers, and partners in the health care industry and government.

"Events like the World Asthma Day Conference highlight the important link between climate change action and better health for all Ontarians," said Glen Murray, Ontario's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. "Climate change not only threatens our environment, communities and economy, it also presents serious risks to our health, especially for those living with asthma and allergies. Ontario's strong actions against climate change, such as eliminating coal generated electricity, have contributed to fewer smog days and cleaner air. Ontario will continue to take on climate change by introducing a cap and trade program to limit the main sources of greenhouse gas pollution and help ensure a healthier future for our children and grandchildren."

International experts in outdoor air quality, microbiology, aeroallergens, severe weather impacts, air pollution and the natural environment will gather in Toronto to share analysis, research and best practices.

"The rates of people with severe forms of asthma are climbing, and climate change will exacerbate symptoms in many, placing an added burden on the health care system, in addition to the personal burden experienced by individuals," said Rob Oliphant, President & CEO of the Asthma Society of Canada. "We are feeling the impact of climate change in our lungs today. We must act now."

Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, two bestselling, environmental authors will be the keynote speakers at the conference's gala dinner. At this dinner, awards will also be presented to Dr. Malcolm Sears for his work in health research, Bill Swan for his work in patient advocacy, and to the Cement Association of Canada for policy leadership in the area of respiratory health.

Other speakers at the conference will include:

  • Dr. Alan H. Lockwood, University at Buffalo
  • Dr. Chris Carlsten, University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Sarah Henderson, BC Centre for Disease Control
  • Dr. Christine Rogers, University of Massachusetts -Amherst
  • Dr. John Stone, Carleton University 
  • Keith Brooks, Environmental Defence
  • Peter Berry, Health Canada
  • Rick Smith, Broadbent Institute
  • Bruce Lourie, Ivey Foundation
  • Katie Sullivan, International Emissions Trading Association
  • Rob Oliphant, Asthma Society of Canada

More information on the conference can be found at: www.clearingtheair.ca

About the Asthma Society of Canada
The Asthma Society of Canada (ASC) is a national charitable volunteer-supported organization devoted to enhancing the quality of life and health for people living with asthma and associated allergies through education, research and advocacy. The ASC has a 40-year reputation of providing health education services to patients and healthcare professionals.

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1 World Health Organization. Global surveillance, prevention and control of chronic respiratory diseases: a comprehensive approach. Available at: http://www.who.int/gard/publications/GARD%20Book%202007.pdf?ua=1 2007.  Accessed April 23, 2015.
2 Public Health Agency of Canada. Climate Change and Public Health Factsheets.
Available at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/eph-esp/fs-fi-a-eng.php 2015. Accessed April 23, 2015.
3 Asthma Society of Canada. Asthma Facts and Statistics FAQs. 2015. Available at: http://www.asthma.ca/adults/about/asthma_facts_and_statistics.pdf 2015. Accessed April 23, 2015.

SOURCE Asthma Society of Canada

For further information: Media Contact: Noah Farber, Asthma Society of Canada, 416 787-4050 x100, noah@asthma.ca; Nick Williams, Argyle Communications, 416 968-7311 x228, nwilliams@argylecommunications.com

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