Monday, August 1, 2011

Help Stop Congress from Weakening the Clean Air Act


WASHINGTON, D.C. –The American Lung Association has released a television advertisement today in an effort to thwart Congressional attempts to weaken the Clean Air Act.  This effort is part of the Lung Association’s Healthy Air Campaign to preserve the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to implement and enforce this forty-year-old, landmark public health law.  The provocative new ad focuses on the devastating effects of air pollution and its impact on the health of children, while bringing a sense of urgency to the debate over cleaner air. 

Every day, millions of Americans suffer from the toll of toxic air in the form of asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and even premature death.  Right now, some in Congress and special interests are trying to stop the cleanup of toxic mercury air pollution; they are encouraging the EPA to ignore scientific evidence that smog harms health and can even cause premature death and they are erroneously claiming that it’s too costly for big polluters to install modern pollution controls.

Since late 2010, the American Lung Association has led a coalition of health and medical organizations as part of the Healthy Air Campaign to raise awareness about the serious health consequences of rolling back clean air policies.  According to a bipartisan survey conducted by the Lung Association in June of this year, the American people support its fight for healthier air: an overwhelming 75 percent of voters support the EPA and its efforts to update standards for life-threatening air pollutants, while 68 percent feel that EPA scientists, not Congress, should set air pollution standards.

In a video posted today on YouTube addressing Americans nationwide, American Lung Association president and CEO, Charles D. Connor remarked: “For over 40 years, the Clean Air Act has helped keep America’s air healthy and safe.  But now, it’s under’s the truth: If we weaken the Clean Air Act, millions of children and adults will suffer asthma and heart attacks, strokes and even premature death.” 

The ad released today, which will run on network and cable television, features a red baby carriage with sounds of a child suffering respiratory distress that are heard while the red carriage is seen in front of iconic D.C. landmarks including the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol.  The voiceover of the ad states the following:  “Congress can’t ignore the facts.  More pollution means more childhood asthma attacks.  Log on to and tell Washington: Don’t weaken the Clean Air Act.” 

“Members of Congress must know that any vote against clean air policies and ignoring the health of our children is unacceptable,” said Peter Iwanowicz, assistant vice president with the American Lung Association. “Using public health as a pawn in a political fight to maintain the support of big polluters is abhorrent, and once they find out what is taking place we don’t think the public will stand by while their Member of Congress votes to eliminate safeguards.”

The television advertisement represents the latest education and outreach effort in the American Lung Association’s Healthy Air Campaign.  The campaign has mobilized more than 1,800 medical professionals and 500 organizations, representing all 50 states, to support the Clean Air Act.  The Campaign expects to be very active during the upcoming August recess.

The Clean Air Act has had strong bipartisan support for the past 40 years.  In 2010 alone, enforcing the Clean Air Act is estimated to have prevented 160,000 premature deaths.

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