VIDEO: Testing and teaching—How in-school screenings can help kids catch their breath

EHN sat in on the monthly asthma clinic at Clairton Elementary School

Editor's note: This story is part of "Breathless," EHN's in-depth look at asthma in Pittsburgh and what can be done to help children breathe easier.


On a hot Monday morning in May, EHN sat in on the monthly asthma clinic at Clairton Elementary School as children came into the nurse's office one to have their lung function tested.

Local pediatrician Dr. Deborah Gentile launched the program in partnership with Duquesne University after conducting a research study that revealed 18.4 percent of the children at Clairton Elementary have asthma—more than double the national average.

Clairton is home to US Steel's Clairton Coke Works plant, the largest facility in the country for converting coal into coke, a material used in steel manufacturing. The plant is one of the top three polluters in the region, and had at least 6,700 air pollution violations over a three-year span between 2012 and 2015, according to an Allegheny County Health Department report.

Gentile's asthma clinic program, dubbed CARES (Caring for Asthma in our Region's Schoolchildren), has enrolled 41 patients, ages 6-12, from six local elementary schools for ongoing care through regular in-school asthma clinics. Gentile hopes to ultimately see the program expanded to every school in the county, then the state.

*CARES and EHN receive support from the Heinz Endowments.

Related coverage: Can mandatory asthma screenings solve Pittsburgh's asthma epidemic?

Print Friendly and PDF
SUBSCRIBE TO EHN'S MUST-READ DAILY NEWSLETTER: ABOVE THE FOLD
From our Newsroom

Op-ed: A push for answers about the environmental causes of child cancer

A first-of-its kind study aims to tease out the link between pollution and cancer in children.

Moving forward after four years of fights and falsehoods

As the US turns the page on a skeptical and openly hostile administration, environmental science and journalism face continued obstacles—but there is some optimism.

LISTEN: Dana Williamson on bringing communities to the forefront of environmental justice research

"There needs to be more intentionality around working with communities that are experiencing environmental inequities."

LISTEN: Kristina Marusic discusses the health effects of fracking on "In This Climate"

"People in communities with fracking are fearful about the exposures they're facing from the industry."

Unplugged: Abandoned oil and gas wells leave the ocean floor spewing methane

The Gulf of Mexico is littered with tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, and toothless regulation leaves climate warming gas emissions unchecked.

10 tips for cleaner grocery shopping

Picking ingredients for a better lifestyle.

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.