Illinois Environmental, Health Advocates Commend Soot Standards
Cutting Soot Good for People, Good for Planet
CHICAGO – Environmental and public health leaders from across Illinois joined Friday in commending new national standards to improve air quality and cut soot pollution.
“Soot is clogging people’s lungs and harming our health,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “These reasonable new clean air standards will accelerate deployment of better technologies that reduce pollution, improve public health and make the air safer to breathe.”
The standards target tiny pollutants from the burning of fuels like coal and diesel that have been connected to a wide range of harmful health impacts. Public health leaders see an opportunity to improve the lives of people in Illinois.
“In Illinois, where almost 14 percent of the population has asthma, improving air quality is critical,” said Dr. Sarah Lovinger, Executive Director, Chicago Physicians for Social Responsibility. “National standards are needed because pollution doesn’t stop at state borders.”
Dr. Sue Buchanan, of the University of Illinois-Chicago’s department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, said the new standards are particularly important for children. “Illinois is known for both its dirty air and its high rates of childhood asthma, especially in our urban areas,” she said. “Science has clearly shown that particulate matter emitted into the air affects the public’s health – from higher rates of heart attacks and asthma attacks to preterm births. Stronger standards on particulate matter pollution will show direct benefits to our children and to those who suffer from heart and lung disease.”
Brian Urbaszewski of Respiratory Health Association noted the historic nature of the new standards. “Fine particles are extremely dangerous, triggering both asthma and heart attacks, while increasing lung cancer risk, hospital admissions and premature deaths,” he said. “Today, EPA finally set air quality standards based on the medical evidence that will protect vulnerable people with lung disease from dangerous air pollution.”
National clean air advocates added their support for the new standards and urged people to fight any challenges the new standards face going forward.
“People everywhere have a sacred right to clean air. Let’s make sure we protect that right here at home and our children will breathe easier,” said Dominique Browning, co-founder of the Environmental Defense Fund’s Moms Clean Air Force. “We cannot allow pro-polluters to weaken the Clean Air Act.