Richmond voted asthma capital of US

Posted at 6:43 PM, May 30, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-30 18:44:20-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - When it comes to top ten lists, Richmond has muscled its way onto many popular lists. From tacky lights and tattoos, to movie making and monuments, the River City is now wheezing its way to the top of another list.

"In 2010 and 2011 Richmond was voted the asthma capital of the United States,” said THE Virginia League of Conservation Voters' Henry Symons.

In fact, Richmond's asthma rate sits at 33 percent. Symons warns those numbers are far too high.

“The three main factors are high humidity, high pollen and pollution," said Symons. "Unfortunately, there is little we can do about humidity and pollen count so cutting down on pollution is the best tool to cleaning up Richmond’s air.” 

Taking a breath in the dead of summer can be downright dangerous for folks in the area living with asthma. July and August can be especially tough.

“Every summer is going to be hot. And it can get real bad,” said Kierris Doyle, who has asthma. “You’d rather stay in the a.c. than be outside.”

The 20-year-old-student at VUU said she has struggled for six years. with asthma The athlete said it is especially bad when she plays sports outside.

Outside a Carytown yogurt shop, Jessica Clark helps her two-year-old daughter with a bowl of yogurt to keep cool. Clark said she dreads the summer months.

“You step outside and you feel like you just stepped into a pool. You can smell it. The air is smoggy and bad. It is pretty miserable,” said Clark

Additionally, Clark said she worries the dismal air quality could be damaging her daughter’s developing lungs.

“It’s a little terrifying. I would hate to think it affects my baby like that,” she said.