ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Allentown is the Asthma Capital of the U.S., according to a group that monitors the respiratory illness.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks the Allentown metropolitan area No. 1 on its list of the "most challenging places to live with asthma," a chronic respiratory condition that makes breathing difficult.

The region's top spot on the list was announced Thursday, a month after Lehigh and Northampton counties announced a plan to monitor air quality.

September is Asthma Peak Month, according to the AAFA, because of pollen, children returning to school and the start of cold and flu season.

The foundation's rankings are based on how common asthma is in an area, the number of emergency visits for patients with asthma, and deaths due to the condition.

Many risk factors contribute to asthma, Kenneth Mendez, chief executive and president of the AAFA said in a statement. Among those factors are poverty, the number of people without health insurance and air quality.

"Understanding where these risk factors are hitting folks the hardest can help us develop long-term solutions," Mendez said.

Pennsylvania has several areas on the asthma Top 100 list, including Philadelphia at No. 10, Harrisburg at No. 16, Pittsburgh is No. 43 and Scranton comes in at No. 74.

In August, Northampton County Executive Lamont G. McClure and Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong discussed LV Breathes, the plan to put up monitors to determine air quality.

McClure noted then that the Lehigh Valley gets poor ratings for air quality. He linked that to warehouse proliferation and truck traffic.

"We don't need any more warehouses," McClure said Aug. 2 in Betlehem.

The foundation's report notes other risk factors for asthma, which is an inflammation of the airways. Among the risk factors are poverty, air quality, access to specialist medical care, pollen allergies, tobacco use and lack of health insurance.

Source link