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Protect Americans from Deadly Air Pollution

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Almost 64 million Americans live in areas with daily spikes in particulate pollution. Take action for clean air and a healthier future!


Are you concerned about air pollution and its impact on public health? You’re not alone. Air pollution is a growing threat to public health in the United States, with almost 64 million Americans living in areas with daily spikes in particulate pollution, according to a recent report by the American Lung Association (ALA)1. Particle pollution, which comes from sources like factory fumes and vehicle emissions, is a deadly and growing threat to public health, and wildfires in the West are also a major factor in the uptick in days and places with unhealthy levels of this type of pollution.

Poor air quality can have severe impacts on public health, with around 63.7 million Americans living in 111 counties across 19 states with failing grades for unhealthy spikes in particulate matter air pollution. Particle pollution has been linked to numerous health problems, including asthma attacks, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, stroke, and premature death1. Air pollution is responsible for around 7 million deaths worldwide every year, and in the US alone, air pollution is estimated to cause 200,000 premature deaths annually2.

Poor air quality can also have a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities, including low-income and minority populations, who are more likely to live in areas with high levels of pollution3. Low-income and communities of color are disproportionately affected by air pollution, with African Americans being 75% more likely to live in areas with unhealthy levels of particulate matter than non-Hispanic whites4. These communities are often located near sources of pollution such as highways, factories, and power plants and may face higher rates of respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and other health problems linked to air pollution.

Despite decades of progress on cleaning up sources of air pollution, the ALA report found that roughly a third of Americans, or 119.6 million people, were living in places with failing grades for unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution1. This figure represents a decrease of 17.6 million people from the year prior, and the report cites the success of the Clean Air Act over the last few decades as a driving factor behind this positive trend. The Clean Air Act, passed in 1970, is a federal law designed to protect the air we breathe by regulating emissions of pollutants from stationary and mobile sources5.

However, the Clean Air Act has faced numerous challenges over the years, including attempts to weaken its regulations and reduce funding for enforcement. In 2020, several key provisions of the act were rolled back, including regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas facilities and restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plants, which were met with significant opposition from environmental groups and some states, who argued that they would lead to increased air pollution and have negative impacts on public health 6.

Now, more than ever, we need to take action to protect our air and our health. We need to urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen the Clean Air Act to ensure that all Americans have access to clean air. The EPA has reported that nearly a third of counties in the US had air quality that did not meet national standards for particle pollution, ozone, or both7. With wildfires, factory emissions, and vehicle emissions continuing to contribute to air pollution, we need to ensure that our air is protected.

Join us in calling on the EPA to strengthen the Clean Air Act to protect public health and the environment. Sign our petition today and let your voice be heard. Together, we can make a difference and ensure that all Americans have access to clean air. Let’s take action now!

More on this issue:

  1. American Lung Association (2023), "State of the Air."
  2. World Health Organization (22 September 2021), "New WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines aim to save millions of lives from air pollution."
  3. American Lung Association (17 April 2023), "Disparities in the Impact of Air Pollution."
  4. NAACP (2023), "Fumes Across the Fence-Line: The Health Impacts of Air Pollution from Oil & Gas Facilities on African American Communities."
  5. United States Environmental Protection Agency (12 September 2022), "Summary of the Clean Air Act."
  6. Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka, Kendra Pierre-Louis, The New York Times (20 January 2021), "The Trump Administration Rolled Back More Than 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.."
  7. United States Environmental Protection Agency (1 June 2022), "Air Quality - Cities and Counties."
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The Petition:

To the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency,

We are writing to you with a sense of deep concern about the state of air quality in our country. As the American Lung Association has found, more than 64 million Americans are currently living in areas with daily spikes in particulate pollution. This is a deadly and growing threat to public health, and we believe that it is time for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take decisive action to protect Americans from the dangers of unregulated particle pollution.

Particle pollution in the air comes from sources like factory fumes and vehicle emissions, and it has been linked to numerous health problems, including asthma attacks, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, stroke, and premature death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is responsible for around 7 million deaths worldwide every year. In the US alone, air pollution is estimated to cause 200,000 premature deaths annually.

It is unacceptable that so many Americans are exposed to dangerous levels of particle pollution every day. We call on the EPA to take action to protect public health by strengthening the Clean Air Act to prevent unregulated particle pollution from killing Americans. We believe that this is a critical step that must be taken to protect the health of our communities and our country as a whole.

As you know, the Clean Air Act is a federal law designed to protect the air we breathe by regulating emissions of pollutants from stationary and mobile sources. However, we believe that the law needs to be strengthened to keep up with the growing threat of particle pollution.

We also believe that it is critical to take action to address the disproportionate impact of air pollution on marginalized communities, including low-income and minority populations. Low-income and communities of color are disproportionately affected by air pollution, with African Americans being 75% more likely to live in areas with unhealthy levels of particulate matter than non-Hispanic whites. These communities are often located near sources of pollution such as highways, factories, and power plants, and are more likely to have limited access to healthcare services. As a result, they may face higher rates of respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and other health problems linked to air pollution.

We urge you to take immediate action to strengthen the Clean Air Act to prevent unregulated particle pollution from killing Americans. We believe that this is a critical step that must be taken to protect public health. Please protect our health and our planet by strengthening the Clean Air Act and ensuring that all Americans have access to clean air.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: