For Immediate Release
Strong Water Protection Programs Critical to Protect Public Health
Washington, D.C., April 27, 2011 – The American Public Health Association strongly
supports proposed guidance issued today by the Environmental Protection Agency
and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to safeguard public health and the
environment from dangerous water pollutants by protecting the agencies’ regulatory
authority over the nation’s waters under the Clean Water Act.
Revised guidance announced
today is a major step in protecting and cleaning up many of the nation’s lakes,
streams and wetlands that have long lacked proper protection from toxic chemicals,
which could contribute to serious health effects. The new guidance would
clarify where the Clean Water Act protections apply to ensure that even the
most vulnerable waters are safe for fishing, swimming and recreation.
“The potential health impact of continuing to allow
harmful pollutants into our nation’s waterways cannot be overlooked. This is a tremendous
cause for concern that could severely threaten public health and the
environment,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director
of APHA. “We applaud EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers for today’s guidance
to implement critically needed protections over the nation’s water supply and
to safeguard all communities from exposure to harmful chemicals.”
APHA calls for greater
authority for EPA and the Corps under the Clean Water Act and is hopeful the
agencies will finalize the strongest possible guidance to protect public health
and the environment.
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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.