American Lung Association Honors Healthy Air Ambassador

Dr. Mark Mitchell rewarded for his commitment to the environment

HARTFORD, CT (March 16, 2012)

An Evening of Life and BreathMark Mitchell M.D., MPH, is a man on a mission for environmental justice. His task: to pinpoint and eliminate all hazardous chemicals in the air. It is because of this passion that on April 20th, the American Lung Association will honor Dr. Mitchell with the Healthy Air Ambassador Award at their annual spring gala event.

With more than 20 years of experience in the public health sector, Dr. Mitchell has held many titles, including Director of Hartford’s Health Department. He is the founder and former president of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, with chapters in Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven. Additionally, Dr. Mitchell has served on the U.S. EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Board and on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on Blood and Blood Products.

The quality of air has a significant effect on how the body operates day to day. Currently, Dr. Mitchell is working on reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act. This law was passed 35 years ago and ineffectively regulates the chemicals in commerce today. Dr. Mitchell is working with organizations all over the country to require that companies prove that chemicals are safe before being released into the air, water or being put into consumer products. He has conducted research that suggests a connection between poor air quality and various serious health problems in Hartford.

“Of the 84,000 chemicals which are registered through the EPA as potentially used in consumer products, less than ten percent have been tested for health and safety measures,” explains Dr. Mitchell. The team is advocating for all 84,000 chemicals to be tested and regulated. Dr. Mitchell believes there are no excuses for putting toxic chemicals in items people buy every day, especially when there are safer alternatives and research suggests that some products impose serious threats to the air and lungs when thrown away and burned in trash-to-energy incinerators.

On Friday, April 20th, at the Riverview in Simsbury, the American Lung Association will honor those who have gone above and beyond when it comes to protecting the environment, and ultimately lung health in Connecticut. The evening will include dinner, drinks, and a silent auction. Individual tickets for the evening are $175. Contact Lisa Wrubleski at (860) 838-4377 or lwrubleski@lungne.org for more information.

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About the American Lung Association of New England
The American Lung Association of New England is part of the American Lung Association, the oldest voluntary health organization in the U.S. Established in 1904 to combat tuberculosis; our mission today is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. The focus is on air quality, asthma, tobacco control, and all lung disease. ALANE serves CT, MA, ME, NH, RI and VT.