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EPA’s Final Rule to Reaffirm Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Will Protect Millions from Toxic Power Plant Emissions

Date: Feb 17 2023

Contact: Media Relations

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rule to reaffirm the appropriate and necessary finding for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. In response, leadership from the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association and Physicians for Social Responsibility commented on the final rule:

“Our organizations celebrate EPA’s final rule to reaffirm the ‘appropriate and necessary finding’ for the lifesaving Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. There is no question that protecting Americans – particularly babies – from dangerous toxic air pollutants emitted by coal-fired power plants is appropriate and necessary,” said President and CEO of the American Lung Association, Harold Wimmer.

“The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards have a proven track record of success. These already-implemented, commonsense standards have successfully slashed emissions of toxic air pollutants, including mercury and arsenic, and protected babies from effects on the nervous system ranging from convulsions and visual problems to damage to the developing brain and loss of IQ. Millions are breathing cleaner air because of these protections under the Clean Air Act,” said Jeff Carter, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“Retaining these protections is a critical first step; we now urge EPA to strengthen them. We need stronger standards to protect all communities from these pollutants, especially those living near power plants. EPA must move quickly to protect the health of all Americans, especially babies and children,” said Executive Director of the American Public Health Association Georges C. Benjamin, MD.

“Our organizations took legal action to defend the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, and we thank EPA for keeping them. All children should be able to breathe clean air no matter where they live. Our organizations will continue to advocate for stronger safeguards – the health of children is at stake, and we cannot afford to wait,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Sandy Chung, MD, FAAP.


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

About the American Academy of Pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.

About the American Public Health Association

The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at

About the Physicians for Social Responsibility

Guided by the values and expertise of medicine and public health, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) works to protect human life from the gravest threats to health and survival. PSR mobilizes physicians and health professionals to advocate for climate solutions and a nuclear-weapons-free world. PSR’s health advocates contribute a health voice to energy, environmental health, and nuclear weapons policy at the local, federal and international levels.