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Battle over asthma problems on the West Side from Peace Bridge

WBFO News file photo

The fight over expansion of the Peace Bridge is turning into a battle over asthma problems on the West Side.

There are an array of state agencies saying if there is a problem it isn't related to the bridge and its traffic. But a retired pulmonologist with years of research and treatment says it is.

How bad the air is around the bridge and on the West Side generally isn't clear. That may be made clearer in air monitoring which has started near the span, although the first complete report isn't due for six-months.

Retired pulmonologist Doctor Jamson Lewbuga-Mukasa spent years treating asthma while with Kaleida Health and researching the issues.

Lwebuga-Mukasa said the bridge can stay but the trucks and their exhaust have to go.

"I would not ask to move the bridge. i would say that if we had a decrease in the traffic crossing the bridge, that would be an entire improvement. actually, what would be even better is not to have the trucks there but to have the trucks somewhere else," said Lwebuga-Mukasa.

Lwebuga-Mukasa says the asthma problem is bad around the bridge and decreases as you move away.

The doctor said asthma affects young people through problems in school and inability to play sports and stays with them as they grow older and can lead to cardiovascular problems.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.