For Immediate Release: September 2, 2011
TFAH Statement on National Ambient Air Quality Standard
Washington, DC, September 2, 2011 – The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) warns that the President’s decision today to halt the release of a long-overdue National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ground Ozone will have dangerous results for the future health of Americans. The following is a statement by Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH:
“Today’s decision to halt work on a revised standard is completely at odds with the statement EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson made last year when she announced that EPA would reconsider the standard – ‘Using the best science to strengthen these standards is a long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier.’
Over the past 40 years, the Clean Air Act has proven to be a valuable tool for protecting public health. The corresponding NAAQS protections represent a critical defense against toxic and dangerous pollutants.
The ground ozone, or smog, NAAQS is no exception. EPA’s own science is clear that elevated levels of smog can cause asthma attacks, shortness of breath, send people to the emergency room, and even lead to premature death. Worse, this kind of pollution disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable Americans – children, older Americans, and those who already suffer from other chronic diseases. The science is also clear that the current standard is not adequate to protect those most at risk.
In June 2011, 17 federal departments and agencies announced the release of the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy, a historic and coordinated effort to promote prevention and wellness in this country. Our ability to achieve success in one of the four strategic directions, creating healthy and safe community environments, and attaining our ultimate goal of improving the health and well-being of all Americans is severely limited if we do not establish and enforce appropriate air quality protections as required by law under the Clean Air Act.
The time to update this outdated standard was in 2008 when it was required by law. It has been widely known since 2006 that the current standard for ground ozone does not protect public health. Every day we continue to delay this standard is another day we put Americans’ health and lives at risk.”
Trust for America’s Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority.www.healthyamericans.org.