Citing the urgent threat to public health, today 18 leading national health, patient advocacy, nursing and medical organizations called for immediate action to address climate change.
The groups issued a "Declaration on Climate Change and Health" to highlight the health impacts already taking a toll on communities across the country as a result of climate change, noting that extreme weather patterns, such as heat and changes in precipitation patterns, have increased the frequency and intensity of droughts, wildfires and flooding with profound impacts to human health and safety.
The Declaration states, "Bold action is needed to address climate change by cleaning up major sources of carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases, including power plants, cars, trucks and other mobile sources," and calls on "President Trump, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and members of Congress to heed the clear scientific evidence and take steps now to reduce pollution that drives climate change and harms health."
"Health and medical organizations are united in our fight to reduce ozone and particulate air pollution and combat climate change, and we strongly oppose efforts by the Trump Administration to roll back life-saving clean air and climate protections," said Harold P. Wimmer, national president and CEO of the American Lung Association. "That is why we issued this Declaration, and why we met with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt today."
The "Declaration on Climate and Health" was delivered to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt today during a meeting to discuss the important responsibility EPA has to implement and enforce the Clean Air Act to protect millions of Americans from the risks of breathing air pollution, which can cause asthma attacks, heart attacks, lung cancer, reproductive harm and premature death. In the meeting, the groups also emphasized the urgent need to take steps now to reduce pollution that drives climate change.
"The science is clear. Climate change is happening and it's affecting our health," said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. "The most vulnerable communities, including children, seniors, low-income communities, some communities of color, and people with chronic disease, are at the greatest risk when it comes to climate change."
"Nurses know that preventing illness before it occurs leads to improved health outcomes, saves lives, and is cost effective—both in reducing health costs through reductions in ER visits and hospitalizations and increased productivity - a healthy workforce is more productive. That's why it is so important to act now, before it is too late," said Katie Huffling, a nurse and Executive Director of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.
CEOs and senior leaders from 13 national health and medical organizations, organized by the American Lung Association, participated in today's meeting with Administrator Pruitt.
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 education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.