Asthma inhalers: One small step against global warming

The FDA took a stand recently when it approved a new propellant for asthma inhalers. Up until the ruling, inhalers were made with propellants containing CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons)–now known to be harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer. The new chemical, HFA (hydrofluoroalkane), is considered safe for human ingestion but is much safer for the earth’s environment.

AstraZeneca is currently recruiting for a clinical trial of one type of the HFA inhaler for people with asthma ages 18 to 65. The tests will measure among other things the amount of exhaled nitric oxide (NO) after each dose–a non-invasive way to gauge the need for changes in asthma medication.

The FDA move appears to signal a greater acceptance among government agencies of humankind’s role in global warming. And Walmart has just introduced an HFA inhaler for $9–a lot cheaper than previous prices. Let’s hope this is the start of real change at every level to reverse the trend toward depleting our earthly resources through irresponsible and profligate use.