Clean Air, Healthy Families
New EPA clean air standards will cut mercury pollution by 90% and save 46,000 lives each year. The coal industry and their friends in Congress are trying to roll back these standards, but we’re urging Congress to let EPA do its job and move forward with its commonsense plan to protect public health.
Toxic air pollution threatens our health
More than half of all Americans live in places with unsafe levels of air pollution, which causes of heart attacks, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and even deaths year.
Studies show that one in six women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her child at risk of health effects should she become pregnant. This means that more than 689,000 out of the 4.1 million babies born every year could be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury.
The consequences are serious: Children who are exposed to even low-dosage levels of mercury in the womb can have impaired brain functions, including verbal, attention, motor control, and language deficits, and lower IQs. When these children are monitored at ages 7 and 14, these impairments still exist — suggesting that the damage caused by mercury may be irreversible.
300,000 acres of Texas lakes contaminated
Coal-fired power plants spew hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic mercury into our air every year, which falls to earth in the form of rain and contaminates rivers, lakes and streams. Ranking first in the nation, power plants in Texas emitted 11,127 pounds of mercury pollution in 2010.
Wildlife that is exposed to mercury may develop more slowly, have reduced fertility or even die, depending on the level of exposure. And it doesn’t take much: Scientists found that a gram of mercury — about a drop — deposited in a mid-sized lake over the course of a year was enough to account for all of the mercury subsequently found in that lake’s fish population.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, mercury impairs 300,000 acres of Texas lakes and the entire Texas Gulf coast.
With your help, we can save 46,000 lives
Recently, the EPA moved ahead with efforts to significantly reduce mercury, soot and smog pollution, announcing historic new emissions standards that combined could save 46,000 lives a year. Unfortunately, polluters and their allies in Congress launched a coordinated attack to block these critical safeguards.
We’re working closely with our allies in the public health community, lobbying key senators, and rallying thousands of activists stand up for public health.
It won’t be easy, but if enough of us speak out, we can drown out the coal industry lobbyists and make sure that the EPA is allowed to do its job and protect public health.
Thank President Obama for reducing toxic mercury emissions.
- New air pollution standards could save 46,000 lives
- Right now, mercury pollution puts 1 in 10 women of childbearing age at risk.
- Together with our allies, we delivered more than 800,000 comments to the EPA in support of a strong mercury standard. EPA received roughly 907,000 comments on the standard—more than any other EPA standard in history—and the vast majority of the comments were in support of a strong standard.
- On December 21, 2011, the Obama administration responded to this show of support by announcing the first-ever nationwide standards for mercury pollution from power plants. This followed the July 2011 announcement of new standards for smog and soot pollution for power plants in the central and eastern regions of the U.S.