Jo Sapp sent this story about her mother, Ada Barnhill.
My mother, Ada Barnhill, was born in a small town in Arkansas in 1927. In 1943 she married a handsome airman and for the next 15 years or so crisscrossed the country and spent some time overseas. The family eventually settled in Missouri where my parents stayed for the next decade. Somewhere along the way, Mom became a smoker. In 1970 she and my father moved away from Missouri to Corpus Christi, TX, in a neighborhood downwind of several refineries. The air in Corpus Christi is high in particulate matter, which is particularly bad for those who want to continue breathing and events like the release of pollutants are fairly routine. Sometime in the nineties, they received two setlements from one of the oil companies for hazardous emissions it had allowed.
It proved to be too much for Mom's lungs. Several years ago she was diagnosed with COPD and is now on 24-hour a day oxygen. The slightest exertion causes breathlessness, and she is confined to the air-conditioned house on hot days, on muggy days, on windy days, and on days when the air quality is deemed particularly bad. In short, most of the time. I think she will admit that smoking was a contributing factor to her illness, but there's no question in my mind that the air in Corpus Christi exacerbated the situation and led to a major decline in her quality of life.
Please help clean up our air. Visit the League's special website, http://www.peoplenotpolluters.org, and take the Clean Air Promise!