Obama Administration Finalizes Life-Saving Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

Standards are expected to save 11,000 lives each year

(December 21, 2011)

 The American Lung Association in New York today 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.

"Cleaner, healthier air will save lives," said Michael Seilback, Vice President of Public Policy and Communications at the American Lung Association in New York. "These new standards will not only save lives, they will help protect children, seniors and those who suffer from chronic lung diseases like asthma."

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 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.

"Today's action is a victory for all New Yorkers," said Seilback. "The quality of air we breathe has a direct impact on our health. We're thankful that these new safeguards will soon be in place to protect New Yorkers from these toxic air pollutants."

To join the fight for healthy air, visit www.FightingforAir.org.