Statement of Bill McLin, President and CEO, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
Commending the Environmental Protection Agency for Adopting Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
July 7, 2011
On behalf of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), I commend the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its action announced today implementing the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. For the 20 million Americans with asthma (including 6.7 million children), the content of the air they breathe is top of mind, breathing without thinking is not so routine, and they are more likely to sleep poorly at night and miss work or school by day. This rule will cut air polluting sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions generated by power plants in one state that spread to other states, and will help assure health of residents in neighboring states affected by traveling pollutants. This new rule will help protect the health of those most at risk - children, teens, seniors and people with chronic lung diseases like asthma. According to the EPA, the new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will prevent between 34,000 premature deaths and 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma by 2014.
We recognize that some critics cite adverse economic impacts of tighter standards. However, the economic burden cuts both ways. Research studies have documented a list of costs that include lost wages for patients and for parents who care for children with asthma, lost productivity for companies that employ them, increased hospital admissions, frequent emergency room visits and multiple treatments to control chronic symptoms.
The economic burden of asthma and other respiratory diseases, cancers and cardiovascular diseases are borne by taxpayers via Medicare and Medicaid, and are being borne by corporations who employ these Americans, pay the costs of health insurance for them and their children, and lose productivity when they are sick or caring for their chronically ill loved ones.
AAFA believes that this EPA action is the right step to help keep Americans with asthma safe and healthy.
(AAFA is an independent, not-for-profit voluntary health association dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma and allergies. AAFA was founded in 1953, by the two leading professional medical organizations in the United States devoted to the allergy/immunology specialty.)
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