Air pollution threatens our health

Nearly half of all Americans live in places with unsafe levels of air pollution, which causes heart attacks, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and even death.

On days with high levels of smog pollution, even healthy adults who try to exercise outdoors can experience a reduction in lung function of between 15 and 20 percent. And deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory causes increase on days when air pollution is at its worst.

Studies also show that one in ten women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her child at risk of health effects should she become pregnant. The consequences are serious: Children who are exposed to even low-dosage levels of mercury in the womb can have impaired brain functions, including verbal, attention, motor control, and language deficits, and lower IQs.

We need to clean up the largest polluters

The largest sources of these dangerous pollutants are well-known, and include power plants, industrial facilities, and cars and trucks. In fact, burning fossil fuels to power our transportation sector, generate electricity and power other industry produces roughly 90 percent of all U.S. emissions of nitrogen oxides—a key ingredient in smog pollution.

Coal-fired power plants alone spew tens of thousands of pounds of toxic mercury into our air every year, which falls to earth in the form of rain and contaminates rivers, lakes and streams. And it doesn’t take much mercury to have a big impact on our health. Scientists found that a single gram of mercury can contaminate an entire 20-acre lake.

With your help, we can save lives

Recently, the EPA moved ahead with efforts to significantly reduce soot and mercury pollution, and they’ll soon start developing critical standards for smog pollution. Combined, these standards will save tens of thousands of lives every year. Unfortunately, polluters and their allies in Congress have launched a coordinated attack to block these critical safeguards.

We’re working closely with our allies in the public health community, lobbying key senators, and rallying thousands of activists stand up for public health.

It won’t be easy, but if enough of us speak out, we can drown out the coal industry lobbyists and make sure that the EPA is allowed to do its job and protect public health.


Clean Air Updates

News Release | Environment America

A True Environmental Champion Has Passed

Environment America Executive Director Margie Alt released the following statement on the death of former Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords

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News Release | Environment America

Victory for Clean Air: Supreme Court Upholds Life-Saving Standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. EPA has projected that this critical clean air safeguard would prevent roughly 34,000 premature deaths annually by cutting emissions of smog- and soot-forming pollution from power plants in the central and eastern regions of the country.

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News Release | Environment America

EPA Standard for Gasoline-Powered Vehicles is Good News for Our Health, Environment

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In response to today’s announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency has finalized new pollution standards from gasoline-powered vehicles, Environment America Senior Program Manager Travis Madsen issued the following statement:

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News Release | Environment America

Congratulations Gina McCarthy, Our New EPA Administrator

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Moments ago, in a bipartisan vote of 59 to 40, the U.S. Senate confirmed Gina McCarthy as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The confirmation came within a month of President Obama instructing the EPA to cut carbon pollution from power plants as part of his plan to fight global warming. Margie Alt, executive director for Environment America, issued the following statement in response:

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News Release | Environment America

Senate Finally Ending Debate on EPA Nominee Gina McCarthy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After 154 days of the Environmental Protection Agency operating without a permanent administrator, the U.S. Senate today voted to end debate on Gina McCarthy leading the agency. The Senate now prepares to make a final vote to confirm or reject McCarthy for the post. Margie Alt, executive director for Environment America, issued the following statement in response:

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