Sierra Club Urges Advisory Board to Recommend Strong Standard to Cut Smog Science-Based Guidelines Needed to Protect Children’s Health

March 26, 2014

Contact: Anna Oman, (202) 650-6061

Washington, D.C. – Today the Sierra Club urged the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee to recommend a strong, science-based standard to protect Americans from smog. The Committee provides independent advice to the Environmental Protection Agency as it seeks to update the country’s smog pollution limits according to the Clean Air Act.

“Our children have waited long enough for strong protections from dangerous smog,” said Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign Director Mary Anne Hitt. “We know that smog triggers asthma, sending tens of thousands of children to the emergency room every year. Asthma is the number one health reason that American children miss school, and it costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year in missed work, medical care, and even premature deaths. With the technology readily available to dramatically reduce smog, it would be unconscionable not to act. It’s time to clean up our air and protect our families.”

Smog (also called ground-level ozone) is a widespread air pollutant that, when inhaled, harms the delicate lining of our lungs, and has been likened to getting a sunburn on your lungs. Smog pollution is particularly harmful to children, seniors, and persons with asthma, whose lungs are especially sensitive. Research has shown that exposure to smog causes respiratory problems including asthma, may even affect the nervous and cardiovascular systems, and can lead to premature death.

“Six years ago, the Bush Administration sided with big polluters and set standards that were weaker than what EPA and independent medical experts knew were needed to protect our children’s health,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “President Obama promised to strengthen this standard, and the American people should not have to wait any longer for action to clean up dangerous smog pollution.”

Sierra Club comments to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Council on the smog standard can be viewed here.

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