Environmental Health Policy Statement

Policy Principle on Environment

The American Lung Association strongly supports a safe, healthful environment for all. Environmental policies must protect the public against acute and chronic adverse health effects. The American Lung Association is especially concerned about the effect of air pollution on the health of vulnerable populations, including people with lung diseases such as asthma, the elderly and children. All available strategies, including public education and outreach, research, legislation, regulation and litigation, should be employed as necessary to protect the public health.

National Air Quality Standards
The Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) must be set solely on the basis of the protection of public health. The American Lung Association supports the NAAQS development and revision process as delineated in the Clean Air Act of 1970 and amended through the 1990 Amendments, and opposes the use of cost/benefit analysis or technological feasibility in the standard-setting process. The American Lung Association recognizes and supports the Clean Air Act delegation of the nation’s standard-setting responsibility to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency.

Clean Air Act
The Clean Air Act has proven to be one of the nation’s premier public health measures, enabling the nation to protect the health of millions of people from dangerous air pollutants. Through the Act, Congress clearly established enforceable deadlines and processes for setting and attaining national air quality standards. The Act has shown its effectiveness by significantly reducing ambient air pollution from 1970 levels that resulted in documented lung health benefits that greatly exceed the implementation costs The American Lung Association opposes any measures that weaken the Clean Air Act.

Climate Change
The American Lung Association recognizes that ozone, particulate matter and other pollutants contribute to climate change and that ozone is a potent greenhouse gas. The American Lung Association supports efforts to reduce all emissions that contribute to climate change, including establishing binding limits on emissions, expanding energy conservation and increasing use of renewable sources. Pollution control strategies, including market-based approaches, must directly reduce local adverse air quality impacts in addition to addressing any global impacts.

The American Lung Association supports targeting those emissions that contribute to ambient air pollution that can directly and immediately harm health.

Energy Policy
The American Lung Association believes that the goals of a sound energy policy and protection of respiratory health converge toward policies that maximize conservation, energy efficiency and the use of clean energy sources. Energy efficiency measures should not be implemented in a manner that results in unhealthful indoor air quality. The American Lung Association favors policies that encourage the transition of fossil-fueled power plants from burning coal or oil burning to using clean technologies. The American Lung Association recommends that all fossil-fueled energy production facilities use state-of-the-art pollution control technologies to protect public health. Furthermore, the American Lung Association recommends requiring all existing energy production facilities to meet the same pollution control standards as new facilities.

Environmental Justice
The American Lung Association supports the equitable treatment of all people with respect to the formulation, execution, enforcement and impact of all health and environmental laws and policies and the location of transportation and other facilities. All people are entitled to clean air and are to be free of the health effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution. The American Lung Association will work to reduce the disproportionate share of the nation’s environmental health burden borne by economically disadvantaged and politically disenfranchised communities.

Hazardous Air Pollution
The American Lung Association supports the use of the least hazardous materials, chemicals and processes to reduce the potential exposure to hazardous air pollutants whenever possible. The American Lung Association supports policies that emphasize preventing hazardous chemical accidents and fully protecting workers and communities when such accidents occur. The American Lung Association supports continued and expanded reporting to the public of hazardous air pollutants released by public or private sources. The American Lung Association supports the control of hazardous air pollutants by the maintenance of a scientifically reviewed listing of pollutants and strengthening of controls for hazardous air pollutants through use of maximum achievable control technologies. The American Lung Association also supports increased research on the acute and chronic health effects of hazardous air pollutants and for establishing better models for predicting the impact of releases.

Indoor Air Quality—Public spaces and work places
Everyone is entitled to a safe and healthy indoor environment. The American Lung Association supports measures to require totally smoke-free environments. The American Lung Association supports measures to improve indoor air quality through the use of regulations, standards, guidelines and management practices to protect the public health in indoor public spaces and workplaces, especially for schools and child care facilities.

Indoor Air Quality—Residential
Everyone is entitled to a safe and healthy indoor environment. The American Lung Association supports measures to require totally smoke-free environments in multi-unit housing and to encourage smoke-free single family housing, recognizing that no ventilation system or other alternative provides adequate protection. The American Lung Association supports construction standards, building codes, disclosure and mitigation requirements, and enforcement measures that will protect public health in residential spaces. The American Lung Association supports efforts to decrease the risk to lung health from household products and materials in the home.

International Environments
The American Lung Association strongly supports a healthful environment worldwide. Pollution sources should be required to maintain state-of-the-art meet pollution controls to protect public health. The American Lung Association supports efforts to improve both indoor and outdoor air quality worldwide.

Land Use and Transportation
The American Lung Association believes that in order to improve the health and welfare of the American people and to begin to solve the interrelated problems of energy and air pollution, transportation and land use policies must not continue to foster the dependence on the motor vehicle. The American Lung Association supports policies that encourage appropriate mixed-use development, mass transit and alternative transportation options. The American Lung Association recommends land use development that is organized and coordinated to protect the environment.

Alternative Fuels
The American Lung Association strongly supports measures to reduce air pollution caused by fossil-fuel use in transportation, industry, electricity generation and housing. The American Lung Association recognizes that alternative fuels can play an important role in the reduction of fossil fuel use and that they can vary significantly in their impact on lung health because of their composition and application. Therefore, the American Lung Association supports the assessment of the impact on lung health of all fuels to include the full life-cycle of the fuel from production to use and disposal. The American Lung Association supports using alternative fuels that produce the least harm to lung health to replace or supplement fossil-fuels.

Mobile Sources
The American Lung Association strongly supports measures to reduce pollution caused by motor vehicles and other mobile sources. The American Lung Association urges U. S. EPA to issue strong emissions standards for aircraft, locomotive and marine diesel sources that reduce emissions in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act. The American Lung Association supports stringent, technology-forcing measures to reduce emissions from mobile sources including: the use of advanced low or zero emission technology; the use of the cleanest fuels available for all mobile sources, including low polluting alternative fuels; and the use of equipment to further reduce emissions in existing vehicles. The American Lung Association supports strict enforcement and compliance including in-use testing programs such as test-only vehicle inspection and maintenance programs, including testing for heavy duty diesel vehicles. The American Lung Association supports measures to reduce or eliminate diesel idling and to clean up the legacy diesel onroad and non-road engines. The American Lung Association supports controls on emissions of toxic air pollutants from mobile sources. The American Lung Association supports emissions requirements for aircraft that are comparable in stringency to other mobile source emissions standards and supports measures, including regulation, to reduce ground level aviation emissions.

Pesticides in Schools and Child Care Facilities
The American Lung Association supports the adoption of policies that require schools and child care facilities to practice least toxic pest control methods, such as integrated pest management, and strategies to minimize or eliminate the exposure to pesticides.

Radon
The American Lung Association supports measures to reduce exposure to indoor radon to protect public health. The American Lung Association strongly supports public education programs regarding the health risks of elevated indoor radon levels and the need for radon testing and mitigation. The American Lung Association supports the adoption of building codes that require new construction to meet guidelines for radon resistance. The American Lung Association supports requirements in real estate transactions that require disclosure of radon testing results to purchasers.

Residential Wood Combustion
The American Lung Association calls for effective enforcement of existing regulations and ordinances governing wood burning. The American Lung Association encourages the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen its woodstove certification and outdoor wood boiler standards with an eye toward substantially strengthening them over time. Individuals should avoid burning wood in houses where less polluting heating alternatives are available. The American Lung Association recommends against the use of outdoor wood boilers for residential heating or other purposes. The American Lung Association recommends that more resources be devoted to research on health effects of wood smoke and wood smoke’s contribution to air pollution.

Right-To-Know
The American Lung Association supports the public’s right-to-know about air quality, pollution emissions and environmental hazards in their community, school, child care facility, housing and workplace. The American Lung Association supports right-to-know laws, public education and awareness efforts and other measures to accomplish this objective.

Stationary and Area Sources
The American Lung Association supports measures to ensure the reduction or elimination of air pollution emissions from stationary sources, especially from power plants, and industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers. The American Lung Association also supports measures to ensure the reduction or elimination of air pollution emissions from area sources, especially from industrial and architectural coatings and solvents. U.S. EPA should adopt stringent emissions control regulations for these sources.

Victims’ Rights
The American Lung Association supports preserving all available avenues for citizens, governments and others to bring actions to seek compensation for and protection from injury and/or disease attributable to environmental exposure. The civil justice system's ability to address misconduct and protect public health must not be preempted. The American Lung Association supports alternative systems, using sound scientific and medical criteria to determine injury, that allow full and fair compensation for victims, so long as those systems are completely voluntary and do not diminish legal rights.

Waste Disposal
The American Lung Association supports reducing the environmental impact of refuse by: first, reducing the use of materials in production, packaging and purchasing; second, reusing materials whenever possible; and third, recycling or composting as much of the remainder as possible. The American Lung Association urges the use of safe non-combustion alternatives to dispose of all remaining waste. If combustion is used, the American Lung Association recommends source separation, maximum achievable control technology on all facilities, and specific monitoring of air quality within the general plume fall zone. The American Lung Association opposes residential leaf burning and other unregulated burning, including the use of outdoor wood boilers for waste disposal.