NEW YORK CITY - New York City medical experts and the American Lung Association believe cracking down on housing violations and enforcing stiffer penalties can lead to a breath of fresh air for residents in the Bronx and the rest of the city.

The medical coalition says indoor air hazards are as dangerous to residents as air pollution. According to the American Lung Association of the City of New York, much of the city's asthma attacks are triggered by problems like mold, bad ventilation and rats inside apartments.

The group is calling for legislative action to change the city's building codes.

A five-step "green" plan was released Wednesday that the group believes will help ease the problem. The plan details how the city can clean up the hazards, enforce regulation and educate residents about the issue.

"Asthma management requires a true community approach," says Louise Vetter, of the American Lung Association.