The San Joaquin valley suffers from some of the worst pollution in the nation. But two congressmen have introduced a bill to try and change that.
Experts say children in the San Joaquin valley miss thousands of school days each year because of the poor air quality. In fact, one in five children in the valley has asthma.
"We are 4th in the nation for asthma death, and these are the things that should not be happening. Not only asthma, we have premature birth, and other cardiovascular illnesses with people."
To address the problem, congressmen Jim Costa and Jerry McNerney have introduced House Bill 6378. It would provide federal grant funding to areas with poor air quality and high child asthma rates. In exchange, pollution control districts in these areas would be required to develop and implement plans to improve the problem.
"It would help give tools for local air district to improve quality of life for our children as well as not just young, but the old alike."
To be eligible, an area must meet specified air quality standards, have particular emission levels, meet or exceed national asthma rates, and suffer from high unemployment rates.
"If we all try. Some are individual responsibilities but some can be done by the help of the government and funding. That would be very helpful."
While the potential funding would be helpful, Dr. Aminian says it's only the first step. "This may not be enough. We just have to do as much as we can to contribute."
Every county in the San Joaquin valley fails to meet national air quality standards. Illnesses related to poor air quality cost the valley an estimated $3-billion every year.