Why Attacking The Clean Air Act Jeopardizes Public Health

Last week, two Virginia lawmakers – Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-VA 6 and Morgan Griffith, R-VA 9 cosponsored legislation intended to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from limiting carbon pollution: a stance that puts thousands of Virginians at risk for respiratory illness.

According to Virginia Performs, average exposure to fine particulates– particles of dust, soot, aerosols, and dust fine enough to be inhaled–in Virginia is 12.1 micrograms per cubic meter, which is higher than the United States average (11.7). Ozone quality in Virginia is currently within government standards, except for a few key areas.

Thanks to EPA’s stringent standards, Virginia’s air quality has improved greatly in the last decade, with regard to both particulate pollution and ozone quality, but this improvement may be short lived.

If the two U.S. House members from Virginia are successful in preventing the EPA from updating the Clean Air Act, more than 700,000 Virginia residents with asthma, including 171,632 children, will be at increased risk of adverse health consequences.

TAKE ACTION: Don’t Let Congress Gut The Clean Air Act!

In 2009, EPA scientists determined carbon pollution is a public health risk, including its role in worsening the smog pollution to which asthmatics are particularly vulnerable.

Carbon pollution is linked to asthma because it contributes to warmer temperatures, which make it easier for smog pollution to develop and harder to reduce it.

Warmer temperatures are also associated with increased morbidity and mortality due to increased weather events, such as hurricanes and floods; the spread of disease-bearing vectors; and heat-related illnesses, all of which incur additional health care costs.

“Putting the EPA in a political stranglehold will sentence tens of thousands of people to debilitating, respiratory illnesses such as asthma, adding to the burden of chronic disease in the nation and increasing the financial burden to the health care system,” said Health Care Without Harm‘s Climate Policy Coordinator Brenda Afzal, MS, RN.

“Let’s be clear: If these lawmakers are successful in blocking the EPA from doing its job to cut life-threatening carbon pollution, more asthma sufferers, particularly children, will wind up gasping for breath” Afzal continued.

Collectively, the Virginia lawmakers have received more than $160,000 from polluters, many of which have made stopping the EPA a high priority. The NRDC reports that public officials have accepted over $500,000 in campaign contributions from big polluters as incentive to attack the EPA’s ability to enforce the Clean Air Act.

TAKE ACTION: Don’t Let Congress Gut The Clean Air Act!

Related Reading:
Religious Groups Ask The U.S. Senate To Save the Clean Air Act
Why Warming Up The Car Is The Worst Thing You Can Do This Winter
Top Corporate Air Polluters Named: Costs Of Dirty Air Borne By All

Image Credit: Flickr - Skellig2008


William C
William Cabout a year ago

Thank you.

W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thanks for the article.

Rose N.
Past Member 7 years ago

Thank you for posting.

Stephen Amsel
Past Member 7 years ago

If the Act can regulate particulates, and maybe even CO, without going after CO2, that would probably be for the best. Particulates are damaging, but can be filtered. Trying to regulate CO2 would either leave open either too many loopholes or create unintended nightmares.

Try, for example, to come up with a way to address farms' CO2 emissions without opening a loophole. If it is a "dangerous pollutant", consider the concentration near power-stations. It is not feasible to shut down major stations and run many small ones instead. How about the traffic in major cities? Concentrations can easily get enormous in Manhattan, for example, but I suspect shutting down the roads there would be an issue. If those huge concentrations are allowed to persist, though, how can addressing smaller ones be justified?

Paul B.
Paul B7 years ago

Pollution is a danger that should be monitored. But to attemtp to regulate CO2 emissions is a dangerous step to take. That will in essense allow the government to regulate basically every human activity, including breathing. The CO2 emissions are NOT the problem here. Nature produces more CO2 in our environment than anything we as humans could produce. In fact, our impact is minimal in comparison.
Clean the streams, clean the air where needed, stop the production of excessive trash, etc, but leave the CO2 emissions alone. that is the BIG issue the EPA wants, but it is purely for regulatory control, not for our health. Just know that as you consider what authority we grant them.

Ann K.
Ann K7 years ago

Of course, what a ridiculous question!

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson7 years ago

thank you

Ireven G.
Ireven G.7 years ago

thank you

Wendy B.
Wendy B7 years ago

We need more regulations on polluting companies, not less! All this pollution is making us sick! But to the politician, it's all about the money, who cares about people's health! We need politicians who will do the right thing, the moral thing. Not just to line their pockets with cash.

Lauren A.
Lauren A7 years ago

I have a whole lot of life ahead of me, and unfortunately it's looking pretty bleak! I want children someday, but how would I be able to live with myself if I brought someone into this world who'll have a terrible life because of things they had no say in?