ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta Now News at 10) — Local advocates are pushing to make the air we breathe cleaner, and they explored some solutions during a Georgia Black Women’s Roundtable on Thursday afternoon.

Underserved communities and schools have been the main target of indoor air pollution for decades, and it’s an issue made worse during COVID.

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“Black people disproportionately suffer from asthma. We also have poor indoor air quality that comes, not only from viruses and flus, but also from toxins,” said HBCU Green Fund Founder Felicia Davis.

Pediatricians like Dr. Anne Mellinger-Birdsong say it’s all the more concerning for children. “People don’t realize how bad air pollution is for us, and it really causes a lot of diseases and has a lot of impact,” she said. “With children, it’s viruses, bacteria, also asthma, from all the allergens in the air, and dust and mold.”

It’s why leaders joined a roundtable at Georgia Stand Up to talk about solutions.

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“The Clean Indoor Air Advocate Program is an extension of the Clean Air for Buildings Challenge, where Washington and the EPA put out very good guidelines and steps that every building occupant should have,” said George Negron, the vice president of operations at Timilon Corporation, a company that put air purification systems in 100,000 classrooms across the country, including Atlanta Public Schools.

“Beyond selling the product, we sell a solution and an approach that people can bring people back in the building,” Negron said.

An April American Lung Association report showed Atlanta still has the fourth poorest air quality in the Southeast, which clean air advocates say impacts indoor air quality.

“Nobody likes having a heart attack or a kid sucking on a breathing treatment in the ER. If we had cleaner air, we’d have less of that,” said Birdsong.

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Advocates are urging the public to speak up and tell elected officials they demand cleaner indoor and outdoor air.