American Lung Association Report Warns that More Than Half of All Americans Exposed to Air Too Dangerous to Breathe; Demonstrates Need for Sen. Carper’s Clean Air Act Amendments Legislation

WASHINGTON — According to a study released today by the American Lung Association (ALA), more than half of the United States’ residents are still exposed to pollution levels that are too often dangerous to breathe. The ALA’s annual State of the Air Report, which ranks cities most affected by ozone (smog) and fine particle (soot) pollution, found that air pollution remains a serious concern for millions of Americans.  In fact, nearly three out of five people living in the United States live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particulate matter, which is particularly harmful to those with heart or lung diseases, children and older adults.  The report’s findings demonstrate the need to address air pollution and underscore the urgency of Congressional action to pass Sen. Carper’s legislation, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010.
“While we’ve made progress in cutting pollution from power plants and other sources, including  transitioning to cleaner diesel fuels and engines, the American Lung Association’s report shows that more work is needed to curb air pollution and protect Americans from breathing dirty air that is hazardous to their health,” said Sen. Carper, who chairs the Senate’s Clean Air Subcommittee and who has authored bipartisan legislation with Senators Lamar Alexander, Amy Klobuchar, and Susan Collins, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010, that would cut mercury emissions by 90 percent from coal-fired power plants and tighten national limits on emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX). “Progress in addressing the serious health threats posed by air pollution is likely to stall unless we pass stronger clean air laws at the national level this year.  The American Lung Association’s report proves that passage of our Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010 bill in addition to a comprehensive climate change bill, is imperative to cut deadly emissions from our nation’s fossil-fuel power plants. We can’t afford to wait any longer.  We need to act now on this information and pass critical legislation that would improve the lives and health of tens of millions of Americans in the years to come.”