July 22, 2011
Health Care Without Harm Press Release
Contact: Eileen Secrest 540-479-0168
Washington, DC — There’s nothing more important to nurses than their family, patients, and communities. Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act have been under attack from some members of Congress who have put protecting polluters ahead of protecting public health!
And that’s why, this week, Health Care Without Harm Nurse Advocates headed to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress and White House Staff to tell them that any action by Congress to block the EPA from updating the Clean Air Act, or any delay on behalf of the Administration to avoid implementing new clean air and industrial pollution standards is an attack on the health of our families and communities, plain and simple!
Every year, coal-fired power plants, oil refineries, and other big polluters dump millions of tons of toxic pollutants into their air. Some of these pollutants lead to the development of ozone smog, which can cause increased numbers of asthma attacks and heart attacks among older adults, people who work or exercise outside, and our kids.
Ozone exposure is linked to premature death in people with heart and lung disease. And new research shows that pollutants like ozone smog are dangerous at levels that we once thought were safe.
Other pollutants, like mercury, are a potent neurotoxin that builds up in the environment and through the fish we eat is especially dangerous to children and pregnant women. Exposure can affect a child’s ability to walk, talk, read, write and learn.
EPA is preparing to update clean air standards and reduce the amount of the toxic pollution in the air that leads to increased ozone levels and dangerous levels of mercury. We know clean air standards work. Last year, the Clean Air Act saved 17,000 lives, and multiple studies have demonstrated that efforts to clean up the air worked — that using cleaner fuels or updating local air standards reduces asthma attacks in our kids and heart attacks and hospital visits in other vulnerable populations. Not only that, but recent studies conclude cleaning up the air provides a significant economic benefit to the country.
The only people who don't benefit from updating clean air standards are the polluters. That's why they're working to delay these new standards by any means possible. That is simply unacceptable, and HCWH nurses went to Washington to tell our policy makers just that.
As health care professionals, parents, and community members, we shouldn't stand for it. And our representatives in Washington shouldn't either!
Please consider contacting your legislators to tell them that any action by Congress to block the EPA from updating the Clean Air Act, or any delay on behalf of the Administration to avoid implementing new clean air and industrial pollution standards is an attack on the health of our families and communities, plain and simple!