Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Oklahoma's high asthma rates - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Oklahoma's high asthma rates

[Source KSWO] [Source KSWO]

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Oklahoma's high rate of asthma and a letter Attorney General Scott Pruitt sent to the EPA regarding methane emissions became a heated topic at Wednesday's Senate Hearing in Washington D.C.

At that hearing Pruitt was accused of sending a letter on behalf of Devon Energy to the United States Environmental Protection Agency several years ago about the agency's overestimation of methane emissions from the energy sector.

Another Democratic Senator accused Pruitt of joining with "polluting companies" and cited the high rates of asthma in Oklahoma. 

"Did you ever let any of them write letters on your letterhead to the EPA and did you even file one lawsuit, one lawsuit on behalf of those kids to reduce the air pollution in your state and help them to have a healthy life?" said Senator Cory Booker.

Scott Pruitt responded, "Senator, I've actually provided a list of cases to the chairman, with respect to enforcement steps we've taken in multiple pieces of litigation."

Pruitt then added the state must have an interest in bringing those cases, and you can't bring a lawsuit if there hasn't been some injury to the state of Oklahoma in each of the cases.

Dr. Richard Brittingham of Comanche Memorial Hospital recognizes the rate of asthma is on the rise.

Per the Oklahoma State Department of Health since 2012, one in every ten Oklahoma adults reported having asthma and approximately 123,000 children under the age of 18 were diagnosed with asthma at some point in their life.

“The probably the worst thing you can do if you have asthma is to smoke,” said 
Brittingham. “Anytime you are putting a foreign partial into your lungs other than oxygen and regular air you stand a chance of your underlying condition."

He said b
esides pollutants you put into your body that you have control over, Oklahoma's natural environment doesn't help either.

"There's a lot of pollens in the air,” said
Brittingham. “A lot of grass seeds, tree pollens and those are all allergic and wind up causing asthma for people."

He says he too suffers from the lung disease and knows what it's after he first moved to Lawton to practice medicine at Fort Sill.

At age 42, he began feeling the symptoms.

"Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing,” said 
Brittingham. “If you want to know what asthma feels like I would say try and breathe hold your nose and try and breath in and out through a straw and that will give you a good idea of what it feels like for the asthmatic patient."

He believes the medical field has made great improvements in treating asthma, specifically with inhalers, but still fear fears one thing.

"Now these days with an increase in smoking in our adolescent population and especially the increase in vaping in our adolescent population I’m concerned that the incidents of asthma may be ever increasing yet again,” said 


He encourages those who smoke and are struggling with asthma to quit smoking to help improve their condition and advises anyone concerned that they may have asthma or notice shortness of breath and wheeze to seek medical attention.


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