American Lung Association Criticizes Senate Efforts to Weaken the Air Toxics Standards for Boilers

Statement of Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. (July 21, 2011)

The American Lung Association strongly opposes legislation (S.1392) proposed yesterday by six senators that would weaken the Clean Air Act’s ability to protect public health from mercury and other dangerous air toxics. The Lung Association calls on Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Patrick Toomey (R-PA) to reconsider their action as it will negatively impact the health of individuals and families in their states.

Research has shown that toxics from these boilers harm human health, targeting the circulatory, respiratory, nervous, endocrine, and other essential life systems. These toxic emissions can even cause cancer, developmental disorders and premature death. This bill would extend a two-decade old delay that has allowed these industries to pollute communities across the nation and continue to expose the public to toxic air pollutants.

The cleanup of toxic air pollution from these boilers is required by the Clean Air Act and is long overdue. If these plants are required to meet the same air quality standards that other industries must meet, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that over 2,500 lives would be saved each year. EPA estimates that by following the Clean Air Act provisions, they could also prevent 4,300 nonfatal heart attacks, 41,000 asthma attacks and 310,000 days when people did not have to miss work to care for their own health or for the health of their children.

The Senate bill is not necessary because these new standards have not even been adopted, much less enforced. The EPA is working on addressing industry concerns regarding how long companies will have to comply with the new emission standards. Unfortunately, this bill puts the wishes of corporate polluters above public health protections.

###

About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases.  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-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: www.Lung.org.