Asthma

Asthmatic son's life is being ignored

I am writing to you as the concerned mother of a 6 year old asthmatic son from a town where leaf burning is allowed all times of day and all year round. It is to the point where my son can't play outside in his own yard. He is missing outside physical education class and activity period because of the burning. Leaf burning is toxic for all those who breathe it, but it is especially dangerous for those with lung and heart weaknesses. He has missed so much outside time that his teachers have even started asking if a friend will stay in with him so he isn't alone. It is important that his health be protected, but it is also important that he be allowed to be a child and to fully participate in all school activities on school grounds during the school day. I have been attending Danvers Village Council meetings for almost a year asking the same thing of them, ban leaf burning for the sake of my son and all the children who spend their days here. I have created a resource website: www.DanversCleanAirForAll.YolaSite.com, created multiple pamphlets on the dangers of leaf burning and the easy alternatives, such as composting. I have put up fliers in the post office, bank and library in town. I had a local environmental enthusiast teach a class on composting for free at the local library. I've written letters to the village council members almost monthly. I've tried to educate them not only on the dangers of leaf burning but also on asthma. I've paid to have my website published in the Area Buyers Guide for 6 weeks this fall. I have talked with the grade school and the principal of Olympia North Elementary, Mr. Fred Shears, even wrote a letter to the village council on behalf of the students at the school and the school district asking them to ban burning during school hours. Children breathe in 50% more air per pound of body weight than adults do and their lungs are less developed, so they are more vulnerable to the toxins in leaf smoke. It doesn't make sense that our children are legally protected from cigarette smoke on school grounds, but not leaf smoke, which is equally toxic but last longer and can cover a multi-block radius for days and even months on end. I have even recently spoken with Jacob & Andrew from WMBD news and been on their news channel twice this week. My son and all of the children in this town deserve a chance to be kids and breathe clean air. Some people feel that leaf burning is a right, but a right stops being such when it is a detriment to the health of others. There are a number of ways to handle leaves, but only one way to breathe. And that is worth protecting. Clean air is worth the investment, our children are worth the investment, and a life is always worth the investment. The village council's idea to have a vote in March doesn't take into account the parents with children at the grade school that live in other towns. They also deserve the right to have a say in what their children are breathing during school hours. It equates breathing toxic leaf smoke to a preference choice rather than a serious health risk for the town and all those that spend time here. This is very frustrating. Any time and attention you could give to this matter would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

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