Washington, DC — This morning the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety and the Subcommittee on Children’s Health and Environmental Responsibility are holding a joint hearing to hear from a panel of experts about air pollution’s effects on the health of America’s children. Today has also been declared an “orange alert” unhealthy air day for ozone pollution – the primary component of smog.
Environment America Toxics Advocate Shelley Vinyard issued the following statement in response:
“All Americans should be able to breathe clean air. Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) work to cut dangerous and toxic air pollution like mercury, smog, and carbon dioxide, we’re getting closer to that reality.
“But air pollution still poses serious threats to our health. In fact, today in Washington, D.C., the air has been determined to be unhealthy to breathe for sensitive populations, including children, older adults, and people with respiratory illness. Yesterday was also an “orange alert” air pollution day, putting our most sensitive residents at risk of increased asthma attacks, difficulty breathing, and reduced lung function.
“In addition, mercury exposure is linked to developmental disorders and can impair a child’s ability to learn, and power plants are the single largest source of mercury air pollution in the United States. While some in Congress are working to block new standards to cut mercury and other dangerous air pollution, we applaud Senators Tom Carper and Tom Udall for highlighting the need to move forward with strong limits on pollution to protect the health of our nation’s children and families.
“As EPA works to finalize its recently proposed rule to drastically reduce mercury and other toxic air pollutants from power plants, and protect public health with other upcoming pollution limits for smog and carbon dioxide pollution, we urge Congress to support EPA’s efforts for the sake of protecting America’s children and saving lives.”