PSR doctors raise warnings over "Toxic 20" States with Most Toxic Air Pollution from Power Plants
July 20, 2011
PSR joined with the Natural Resources Defense Council
in releasing a study that identifies the states with the most toxic air
pollution from oil- and coal-fired power plants.
“Toxic 20” worst states are, in order:
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana, Michigan, West
Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee,
Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Iowa.
pollution is killing Americans. It is
America’s biggest source of toxic air pollution,” stated Dr. Lynn Ringenberg,
cofounder of PSR’s Tampa Bay (FL) chapter, who represented PSR in the press
conference that announced the report’s findings.
doctors in five other “dirty” states also participated in the report
roll-out: Dr. Walter Tsou of
Philadelphia PSR; Dr. Gwen Dubois of Baltimore-Chesapeake PSR; Dr. Ken Rosenman
in Michigan; Dr. Maureen McCue of Iowa PSR; and Dr. Ian Alward of PSR-Austin.
plants are the single largest industrial source of toxic air pollution in 28
states and the District of Columbia.
From asthma to
Ringenberg observed that air toxics from coal-fired power plants include neurotoxins
like mercury and lead; carcinogens like arsenic, hexavalent chromium and
dioxin; and other metals and gases that combine to form fine particulates.
substances cause or contribute to health effects ranging from asthma attacks to
premature death from cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.
one air toxic, mercury, damages the developing brains of fetuses, infants and
small children, robbing them of healthy neurological development and native
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently developing tougher safeguards
to protect Americans from this toxic pollution.
The Agency is taking public comments on its proposed “Mercury and Air
Toxics” standard until Aug. 4, 2011. Sign on to PSR’s comments here.
estimates that the reductions of toxic pollution their standard would require would
save as many as 17,000 lives every year by 2015
and prevent up to 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms. They would also avoid
more than 12,000 emergency room and hospital visits and prevent 850,000 lost
work days every year.
these huge anticipated savings in lives and health, some polluters and members
of Congress are seeking to block EPA’s efforts to update public health
protections. Last week, two House committees voted for amendments to block for
at least a year the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics safeguards. These amendments
could move to the House floor as early as late July.
the chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton
(R-MI), has vowed to block EPA’s clean air safeguards. One of the nation’s
biggest polluters, American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, has
drafted legislation to block the EPA and has argued against EPA’s current
votes clearly favor the interests over the health of the American public. As Dr. Ringenberg noted, “Poisonous power
threatens the health of our kids and families.”
a pediatrician for over thirty years, I urge us absolutely to support the EPA’s
efforts to reduce the health threat from coal,” she added.
study, entitled “Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States,” analyzed publicly
available data in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release
Inventory (TRI). Power plants are the
biggest industrial toxic air polluters in 28 states and the District of