Rapidly Growing Coalition of Hundreds of Medical, Public Health and Clean Air Groups Urge Congress to Uphold Clean Air Safeguards

Dec 06, 2010, 14:13 ET from American Lung Association, Washington, DC

Letter Sent to All Hill Offices; Advertisement to Appear in The Hill, National Journal Daily and CQ Today

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A total of 284 national and state medical society and public health groups and other clean air advocates are calling on Congress to defend the Clean Air Act and to reject any measure that would block or delay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from doing its job to protect all Americans from life-threatening air pollution. Signers from all 50 states joined the rapidly growing list of national organizations lining up to uphold the protections of the Clean Air Act.

The letter from 284 organizations was sent today to every Senator and Member of Congress.  National groups that have signed onto the letter include the American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American College of Preventive Medicine, along with other influential national and state organizations.

In addition, a new advertisement calling for Congress to stand firm will appear in the December 6 and 7 edition of CQ Today, and the December 7 edition of The Hill, and National Journal Daily.  The advertisement is also viewable online at http://www.plowsharegroup.com/media_downloads/ala/ala_cleanairact_signup_mag_7x10.pdf:

"Congress wisely passed the Clean Air Act to protect the health of the American people. Thanks to their bipartisan foresight in 1970, we have made great progress in cleaning up the air we breathe and protecting the lives of millions of Americans," said Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "We urge members of Congress to reject the pleas from polluters and continue to support the Act and the EPA's ability to protect the air we breathe."  

"Ambient air pollution has important and diverse health effects, and infants and children are among the most susceptible," said O. Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  "Currently, levels of ozone and particulates remain unhealthful in many parts of the United States, and the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards may not protect the public adequately. There is a compelling need to move forward, not back, on efforts to ensure clean air for all."

"Children are especially vulnerable to harm from polluted air.  Air pollutants have been linked to asthma attacks, infant mortality, and even DNA damage to the fetus," said Cynthia Bearer, MD, PhD, Board Chair of the Children's Environmental Health Network.  "Dirty air can be, quite literally, a killer."

The text of the letter going to all U.S. House and Senate offices reads as follows:

"Dear Senator/Representative,

Representing public health and medical professionals and other clean air advocates, we stand united in calling on you to uphold the Clean Air Act and to reject any measure that would block or delay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from doing its job to protect all Americans from life-threatening air pollution.

Forty years ago, Congressional leaders from both parties wrote and passed the Clean Air Act.  This law directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect public health and the environment.  Since then this wise congressional legacy has saved lives and improved the quality of life for millions of Americans. 

But the job is not yet done.  Far too many of our communities still suffer from poor air quality. Too many families, particularly those of lower income, face the impacts of toxic air pollution every day.  And far too many of our nation's children, elderly, and people with asthma, cardiovascular and lung diseases and diabetes live under added threats to their health from breathing polluted air and the impacts of global warming.

Over the coming years the EPA will be fulfilling its duty to reduce the smog and soot pollution, air toxics, and global warming pollution that are the cause of these public health threats.  We urge you to fully support the EPA in fulfilling this responsibility.  Doing so is quite literally a matter of life and death for tens of thousands of people and will mean the difference between chronic debilitating illness or a healthy life for hundreds of thousands more.

Once again, we urge you to support moving forward with protective clean air standards and to oppose any measure that would delay or block progress toward a healthier tomorrow for all Americans."

The full list of 35 national ad signers includes the following:

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation

American College of Preventive Medicine

American Lung Association

American Public Health Association

American Thoracic Society

Audubon

Center for Biological Diversity

Ceres

Children's Environmental Health Network

Clean Air Task Force

Clean Air Watch

Clean Water Action

Environment America

Environmental Defense Fund

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Green For All

Interfaith Power & Light

League of Conservation Voters

National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care

National Association of County and City Health Officials

National Center for Bicycling & Walking

National Home Oxygen Patients Association

National Parks Conservation Association

National Physicians Alliance

National Wildlife Federation

Natural Resources Defense Council

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Prevention Institute

Public Citizen

Safe Climate Campaign

Sierra Club

Union of Concerned Scientists

Voces Verdes

World Wildlife Fund

Organizations wishing to sign on to the letter may do so at http://www.wesupportcleanair.org. The letter with the full list of 284 signers may be viewed online at http://www.plowsharegroup.com/media_downloads/ala/ala_cleanairact_letter.pdf.

SOURCE American Lung Association, Washington, DC