Statement by APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, on EPA announcement of vehicle emissions and sulfur standards
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Washington, D.C. — “With its decision to finalize cleaner fuel and vehicle emission standards yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided a landmark safeguard for the 150 million Americans who live in communities with unhealthy air quality. Today, the American Public Health Association applauds the Obama administration and EPA for tightening vehicle emission standards and reducing sulfur in gasoline by 60 percent, an investment in prevention that will improve the quality of life and length of life for all Americans — especially our most vulnerable.
“Cars today emit toxic air pollution that has made the air unhealthy to breathe for millions of Americans. These new standards, with support from the auto industry and public health advocates, will reduce harmful emissions and help us avoid premature deaths and respiratory ailments, especially among our most vulnerable including lower-income communities, the elderly and our children.
“Additionally, the EPA rule provides increased protection for those with pre-existing conditions who face far greater risks from traffic-related air pollution, including Americans with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Evidence shows that short- and long-term exposure to vehicle pollutants and other particulate matter decreases life expectancy by months or years.
“These risks have been profoundly minimized by these new standards. On behalf of the public health community, we thank EPA for continuing to put the public’s health first.”
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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.