SOURCE: American Lung Association

March 08, 2006 08:00 ET

Statement by John L. Kirkwood, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Lung Association, on EPA-Proposed Particle Pollution Standards

Standards Too Weak, Need Tightening to Protect Public Health

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 8, 2006 -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding hearings in three U.S. cities, seeking public input on the Agency's proposal for new national air quality standards for particle air pollution. Unfortunately, the proposal is disappointing and falls far short of what is necessary to protect public health.

The American Lung Association is testifying at the hearings being held in all three cities -- Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The American Lung Association is telling EPA that strong, truly protective regulations are needed to curb particle air pollution (also known as particulate matter or PM), which is the nation's most prevalent, most dangerous air pollutant. It causes asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer. It cuts short the lives of tens of thousands of Americans every year. Current standards, which were set back in 1997 -- and the new ones proposed by the EPA -- are not strong enough to address those health risks.

If EPA adopts the standards as proposed, the Agency will have failed the most fundamental task required by the Clean Air Act -- to protect public health. More than 2,000 studies show that particle pollution threatens the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year. Importantly, EPA's own staff scientists and an independent panel of academic and industry researchers have recommended setting a strong standard. Regrettably, EPA has ignored those recommendations.

Our message to EPA is clear: Follow the science and clean up the air. There is no acceptable rationale for setting new standards at levels that still do not meet the basic legal requirement outlined in the Clean Air Act -- to protect the lives and health of the public.

Contact Information

    Diane Maple
    Michelle Sawatka