Senator Takes Up Asthma Initiative in the Bronx Where Rates Are Among Nation's Highest

A state Senator from the Bronx โ€” home to some of the highest asthma rates in the country โ€” is teaming up with the city's Department of Education and health care professionals for a new citywide asthma initiative.

Senator Jeffrey Klein is sponsoring legislation he said would build on the city's initiative by expanding it to the state level. The bill, he said, would limit the use of certain chemicals linked to asthma, and crack down on idling vehicles.

"We don't know what causes asthma," he said. "But we do know what exacerbates the disease, and it's certainly toxins in the environment like second-hand smoke."

The city's NYC Asthma Friendly Schools Campaign aims to increase awareness and education of the disease in schools. School staff would receive training on how to deal with asthma emergencies. Part of the goal is to reduce school absences related to asthma.

In collaboration with the state Department of Environmental Protection, air quality monitors have also been placed around the Bronx. Klein said the results will be available soon.

His office will also expand a mobile screening program this summer and later this year.