NMA PRESIDENT: WHEELER DISMANTLING OF MERCURY PROTECTIONS
Monday, January 7, 2019
NMA PRESIDENT: WHEELER DISMANTLING OF MERCURY PROTECTIONS WOULD “HAVE DEVASTATING HEALTH CONSEQUENCES” FOR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Niva Lubin-Johnson, M.D., FACP, the 119th President of the National Medical Association (NMA), released the following statement condemning the Trump administration’s move to dismantle the lifesaving Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, protections that reduce dangerous mercury, soot, and other toxic air pollutants released from coal- and oil-burning power plants:
“Breathing clean air is a basic human right. Still, too many low-income and African American communities face dangerous health disparities from breathing polluted air because of where they live, work, or play. Now the Trump administration is taking steps to make bad air worse. Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s move to dismantle the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which are aimed at reducing dangerous levels of mercury, soot, and the toxic air pollutants released from coal- and oil-burning power plants, would have devastating health consequences for communities across the country.
“That is why the National Medical Association strongly opposes this attack on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. It helps no one and hurts the health of too many, particularly pregnant women, infants, and children. There is no sound public health reason to rollback a policy which even the EPA projected would avoid annually up to 11,000 premature deaths; nearly 5,000 heart attacks; 5,700 hospital and emergency room visits; and 130,000 asthma attacks.
“These dangerous and deadly pollutants present public health concerns for all of us; however, they present a higher, disproportionate burden on communities of color. African Americans already make 3.5 times more hospital visits than whites and 7 in 10 African Americans currently live in counties with dangerous air pollution levels. Our children are even more vulnerable from increased risks, as African American children already suffer significantly more from asthma and deaths from asthma than their white peers.
“As we begin this new year, NMA will remain a bold voice for environmental justice and the elimination of health disparities. We will continue holding the Trump administration accountable for actions they take that undermine public health and increase toxic pollution, including policies like undermining the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.”