DETROIT, MI -- Today, doctors, nurses, and other public health experts joined Environment America, Environment Michigan, and the Sierra Club to release a letter signed by more than 400 health professionals, calling on Ford Motor Company to support federal clean car standards and shift to 100% zero-emission vehicles to protect our health.
The passionate support from leading health experts is in response to the auto industry lobbying the Trump administration to rollback clean car standards. When fully implemented, existing clean car standards are set to save 6 billion metric tons of dangerous global warming pollution and cut US oil use by 12 billion barrels.
“Ford is fighting to eliminate the standards that we know are working and are improving the health of our families and communities,” said Nathan Murphy, Environment Michigan State Director. “It's the wrong path for Michigan and America.”
According to the 2016 Climate and Health Assessment—a project of more than 100 public health experts and climate scientists—climate change poses a significant health risk to every American. Whether you’re a child, elderly, or in between, the report says climate change will exacerbate current health threats and create new challenges.
Dr. Bruce Bekkar, an OB/GYN, explained, “If we don’t bring climate change and air pollution under control, we’re risking the well-being of not just the most vulnerable among us, but the very lives of an entire generation of U.S. children, from birth onwards.”
“Air pollution accounts for an estimated 690 premature deaths and 1800 hospitalizations each year in the Detroit Metropolitan Area alone, at an estimated cost of $6.9 billion,” said Dr. Amy Schulz, from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
“Tailpipe pollution is a well-documented cause of serious health problems, many of which impact Detroit residents disproportionately. Rolling back or weakening the Clean Car Standards will create more health problems in Michigan and could even cost lives. We need to celebrate, support and strengthen the Clean Car Standards and not threaten them by weakening these safeguards.” said Kindra Weid, a registered nurse and the Coalition Coordinator for Michigan Air, Michigan Health.
“We all want to breathe clean air, but it is especially important for people with lung conditions like asthma and for people at the ends of the age spectrum – for kids and for the elderly. Vehicle emissions have a known and measurable impact on health,” added Dr. Toby Lewis, Associate Professor of Pediatric Pulmonology at the University of Michigan. “Implementing strategies that reduce or eliminate harmful vehicle emissions can make a real difference in how we breathe and our ability to lead healthy lives.”
"We cannot allow Ford and Scott Pruitt to put our clean car standards in reverse," said Erica Dodt, Organizing Representative with the Sierra Club. "These widely-supported standards are driving our country's largest-ever effort to reduce pollution and we must put them in the fast lane as we move towards cleaner air in our communities."
Nurse Kathleen Slonager, Executive Director of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Michigan Chapter, explained: “We must not roll back the standards for clean air. We actually need to strengthen these policies. We have a real opportunity to pave the way for a cleaner energy future that reduces pollution and gives us cleaner and healthier air. By transitioning to clean, renewable energy and reducing energy waste, we can reduce the dangerous pollution that is linked to heart and lung disease.”
“The Clean Car Standards are achievable and working, and we need to keep them moving forward, not backwards. Here in Michigan, Ford has the ability to build cleaner cars and the tools to give Americans cleaner choices for getting from point A to point B,” Murphy concluded. “We’re calling on Ford to support the clean car standards and steer us towards a cleaner, greener, healthier future.”
Environment Michigan is the statewide, citizen-based advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.
Environment America is a federation of 29 state-based, citizen advocacy organizations working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.
The Sierra Club is now the nation's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization -- with more than three million members and supporters.