Attacks on federal air pollution regulations dangerous to Americans' health

November 1, 2011

Efforts by some in Congress to dismantle clean air laws are a threat to public health, experts warn in a "Current Issues" article published online today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"It is well accepted that has a deleterious impact on personal and public health," write authors Joshua Lipsman, MD, JD, MPH, Immediate Past Chairman, Environmental , American College of Preventive Medicine, and Arthur L. Frank, MD, PhD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Drexel University School of Public Health.

"Since control and reduction of air pollution are subject to federal regulation, physicians, as advocates for patients, must help educate the Congress on its critical role in preventing the health effects of air pollution," they say. "This is particularly important given that Congress is currently debating whether to dismantle existing laws that protect the air we breathe, especially the Clean Air Act (CAA), a cornerstone of environmental health law."

The Clean Air Act authorizes the federal government to reduce airborne contaminants, smog and air pollution in general. Responsibility for the CAA was given to the U.S. (EPA) after its establishment in 1970. Since its initial passage, a number of amendments to the law have been passed, all with strong bipartisan support, to keep pace with the growing evidence base directly linking air quality to health.

In 2007, the Supreme Court said the could be use to used to fight global warming. In 2009, the EPA said that that caused by pollution from industries, automobiles and other sources threaten public health and welfare. This statement made the EPA one of the central targets of the anti-regulatory agenda in Washington.

"Unfortunately, a faction in Congress is working to soften regulations on environmental polluters, which consequently will greatly weaken the health protective impacts of the CAA. Several bills have been introduced in the 112th Congress to delay or remove the authority of the EPA to regulate pollutants such as carbon dioxide and others, which researchers have found contribute to the greenhouse effect in the Earth's atmosphere," Dr. Lipsman said.

The authors call on concerned physicians to write, call or e-mail Congress and ask them to strengthen and not weaken existing air pollution laws. They also recommend work with advocacy groups in this effort. "Professional societies such as the American College of Preventive Medicine and the American Thoracic Society seek physicians to become involved in their advocacy efforts. For the sake of patients and the of the American public, we urge Congress to preserve the authority of the EPA under the CAA."

More information: Lipsman J, Frank AL. Attack on Protections Against Air Pollution. Am J Prev Med. 2011 Dec; 41 (6).

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3 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2011
We did quite well in cleaning up the environment without the EPA. Though not a bad idea at the time of its creation, the EPA has become a monster and a political tool of the left. From declaring carbon dioxide a pollutant to denying asthma sufferers the inhalants necessary for their health, the EPA has become massively counterproductive.

It shouldn't be controlled, it should be eliminated.
2 / 5 (3) Nov 01, 2011
Since the EPA was formed during the Nixon era, it has suffered charter mission creep as the organization demanded more and more money to justify it's bloated size needed to attack ever deminishingly small and insignificant environmental "problems". The EPA has been taken over by a new generation of environmental zealots (activists) uninterested in the unintended consequences of their unnecessary ever tightening regulations on our society. It is time that the EPA first be drastically reduced to about 10% of it's present size and that congress take back it law writing responsibility that it abdicated to the EPA when it was formed. ALL environmental regulations since 1990 should be rolled back and only reinstituted if scientific data can show that each reg. produces is a significant (say 10/1) societal benefit/cost ratio.
not rated yet Nov 05, 2011
The EPA should be absorbed by Homeland Security. They should have a domestic military branch like the National Guard with the power to shoot polluters on sight.
not rated yet Nov 06, 2011
Some good points about the EPA.

What should be done to protect our air air/soil/water from contaminants if we eliminate the EPA?

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