For Immediate Release
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American Public Health Association applauds EPA proposal to protect our water and health from toxic pollutants

Washington, D.C., April 19, 2013 — The American Public Health Association announced its strong support of new standards proposed today by the Environmental Protection Agency that would protect our nation’s waterways and human health from toxic pollutants.

The proposal sets the first-ever federal limits on toxic pollutants in wastewater discharged from coal-fired power plants. The contaminants, including mercury, lead, arsenic and selenium, can present a range of serious and lasting health effects leading to cardiovascular disease and cancer; damaging the nervous system, kidneys and liver; lowering IQ; and more.

“We strongly support these proposed public health protections,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “Keeping our water safe and clean is critical to ensuring the health of our people and communities.”

When discharged from power plants, the toxics contaminate surrounding waterways. Human health is adversely affected when those pollutants are consumed through contaminated drinking water and fish, and when exposed in recreational waterways.

“Toxic heavy metals have no place in our drinking water or on our dinner plate,” said Benjamin. “We urge the EPA to adopt these standards and strengthen the human health protections provided under the Clean Water Act.”

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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