American Lung Association Urges Congress to Stand Up to Threats of Big Polluters, Safeguard Public Health

Washington, D.C. (June 10, 2011)

Albert A. Rizzo, MD, the American Lung Association Board Chair-Elect, and a pulmonary and critical care physician in Newark, Delaware, issued the following statement in response to the release of American Electric Power’s evaluation of the impact of Clean Air Act pollution protections:

“Continuing to belch hazardous pollutants into the air we breathe is not an acceptable business practice and neither is threatening rate hikes and electricity shortages when big polluters are asked to clean up their toxic emissions. The EPA’s proposed mercury and air toxics reduction rule will prevent 17,000 premature deaths and 120,000 asthma attacks each year. Yet, American Electric Power (AEP) is irresponsibly attempting to scare Americans away from demanding that their children no longer be exposed to dangerous levels of pollutants like mercury and arsenic, and other toxic pollutants. Clean Air Act protections do not mandate the closing of power plants but rather set standards that many energy companies have met using existing technologies to successfully reign in dangerous pollutants. The imperative to clean up is strong: these toxins are directly linked to grave health problems, from developmental complications in babies and young children, to asthma attacks and long-term lung complications. After more than two decades of delay, big polluters and their friends in Congress want further delays rather than investing in pollution cleanup.”