For Immediate Release
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American Public Health Association Applauds Proposed EPA Rule to Protect Public Health from Toxic Air

Washington, D.C., March 16, 2011 – The American Public Health Association strongly supports a proposed rule issued today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to safeguard the public’s health from dangerous air pollutants by reducing the level of toxins emitted by coal- and oil-burning power plants.

The proposal is a significant step to cleaning up toxics such as mercury, sulfur dioxide, arsenic and other harmful pollutants that pervade the air in many local communities, especially those in close proximity to power plants, and jeopardize the health of all Americans.

Under the new rule by the Clean Air Act, all existing coal- and oil-burning plants that produce 25 megawatts or more of electricity will be required to install control technology to reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants. New plants will be required to meet the same level of technology and protections.

“Hazardous air emissions from coal- and oil-burning power plants cause a whole range of serious and immediate human health risks,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “These pollutants can worsen asthma and other respiratory diseases; cause heart attacks, cancers and stroke; and exact an enormous economic toll in terms of health-related costs and lost productivity. We applaud EPA for following the clear evidence in cleaning up these toxins from the air we breathe and safeguarding the public’s health.”

The final regulations are expected to take effect within four years from the date EPA makes them final, which is expected by Nov. 16, 2011.

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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.