A national coalition of 210 public health, advocacy and faith-based groups is endorsing pending EPA pollution limits that would save 12,000 lives and prevent tens of thousands of asthma attacks and heart attacks each year.
The groups announced their support in an ad appearing in Politico
Among the groups backing the EPA’s authority are the American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Preventive Medicine, and Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, along with scores of other influential national and state-level groups.
Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that the official limit on ozone, called the national air quality standard, must be much stronger to protect public health from serious harm. Ozone, sometimes called smog, burns lungs and airways, causing them to become inflamed, reddened, and swollen.
Young children, teens, senior citizens, and people with lung diseases like asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and others are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of ozone. When inhaled even at low levels, ozone can cause chest pain and coughing, aggravate asthma, reduce lung function, increase emergency room visits and hospital admissions for respiratory problems, and lead to irreversible lung damage. Ozone can even cause premature death.
Nonetheless, polluters and their allies are pushing heavily to block the new standards.
"EPA must strengthen the ozone standard to protect millions of Americans who are currently exposed to unsafe levels of toxic ozone," says Charles D. Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association. "This is a critical step towards safer and healthier air across the United States."
“Polluters are attacking the clean air protections that have saved tens of thousands of lives and prevented millions of cases of illnesses over the past 40 years,” says Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Clean Air Act alone has done a remarkable job of reducing pollution and protecting our health but there is more work to be done. Millions are suffering from asthma attacks and heart and lung disease. We need the EPA to follow the science and enact stronger standards to reduce the amount of smog we breathe.”
“Science should be our guide, and there’s no doubt that adopting a stronger standard will protect health and save lives,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “People with asthma, seniors, outdoor workers and especially children are at greatest risk. A stronger standard will help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are more adequately protected."
The full text of the ad reads as follows:
“It's our air, but big polluters treat it like they own it. They dump millions of tons of dangerous pollution into our air, threatening the health of all Americans.
Now they're also dumping millions of dollars into a lobbying war against America's clean air laws—even as millions suffer from asthma attacks and other health impacts, especially the young and the elderly.
By setting stronger air quality standards for smog, the EPA can take a stand against big polluters and their lobbyists—and stand up for all Americans, including the most vulnerable.