Natural Gas and Oil Production Standards will Protect Health and Reduce Toxic Air Pollution

Statement from Al Rizzo, MD, Chair of the Board of the American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. (April 18, 2012)

New natural gas and oil production safeguards announced today by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will curb harmful air pollution. The American Lung Association welcomes the new standards, which address air pollution emitted from the production, processing, transmission and storage of oil and natural gas.The cleanup of air pollution from oil and natural gas wells is essential to protect public health and growing in importance as the industry expands. We applaud EPA’s response to this rapidly expanding source of air pollution.

Natural gas production is expanding into highly populated areas of the country.The growth in oil and gas development across the nation means that many more people would be at risk from these pollutants had EPA not provided strong, effective standards for reducing emissions. The adoption of these safeguards against air pollution from oil and natural gas production, as required under the Clean Air Act, will help protect the public from life-threatening pollution. Limiting emissions from oil and natural gas production will yield tremendous benefits and significantly reduce adverse health effects.

We have seen irrefutable evidence of serious threats to human health from air pollutants emitted during oil and natural gas production, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including air toxics such as benzene and formaldehyde, as well as increasing levels of ozone and particulate matter.These pollutants can worsen asthma, cause heart attacks, and harm the circulatory, respiratory, nervous, and other essential and vital life systems. They are also linked to cancer, developmental disorders, and even premature death. People most at risk of harm from breathing these air pollutantswill benefit the most from these standards, including: infants, children and teenagers; older adults; pregnant women; people with asthma and other lung diseases; people with cardiovascular disease; diabetics; people with low incomes; and healthy adults who work or exercise outdoors.

EPA must safeguard the air we breathe, and these commonsense measures to address air pollution from oil and natural gas production will definitely help protect the health of those most at risk.

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Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.