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The American Lung Association applauds the Obama Administration for adopting public health safeguards to reduce mercury and toxic air pollution from power plants. The new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants are long overdue and will reduce the harm from air pollution like mercury, lead, arsenic, and a host of other pollutants.
“Since toxic air pollution from power plants can make people sick and cut lives short, the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are a huge victory for public health,” said Albert A. Rizzo, M.D., National Volunteer Chair of the American Lung Association, and pulmonary and critical care physician in Newark, Delaware.
“The Lung Association expects all oil and coal-fired power plants to act now to protect all Americans, especially our children, from the health risks imposed by these dangerous air pollutants.”
The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will reduce toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants that are found in more than 40 U.S. states and are the largest producers of mercury pollution. Air pollution emitted by coal-fired power plants contains 84 of the 187 hazardous pollutants identified for control by the Clean Air Act.
Many of these pollutants, such as, dioxins, arsenic, and lead, can cause cancer and cardiovascular disease; harm the kidneys, lungs, and nervous system; and even kill. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will reduce these pollutants and prevent 130,000 childhood asthma attacks and 11,000 premature deaths each year.
The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments required the tighter standards on power plants in an effort to reduce toxic emissions in communities across the country. However, big polluters have fought for and won delays for more than 21 years.
“Attempts to delay or dismantle the Clean Air Act, or rules like the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, reward industry polluters and punish those most vulnerable to dirty air,” said Dr. Rizzo. “These new standards mark a huge step forward in clean air protections and will be responsible for saving thousands of lives each year.”