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Heat Advisory: Protecting Health on a Warming Planet
by Dr. Alan Lockwood

Drawing on peer-reviewed scientific and medical research, Dr. Lockwood meticulously details the symptoms of climate change and their medical side effects.

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New EPA Lead Standard Fails to Protect Public Health

October 16, 2008

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) condemns the inadequate effort by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish new lead levels that are adequately protective of the public health.

The EPA announced that it would be lowering the acceptable level of lead in the ambient air to 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3), a decision that has been 30 years in the making.   While acknowledging the need to restrict the levels of lead allowed in outdoor air emissions, the EPA failed to utilize the best available science and protect children and other sensitive populations from the toxic effects of lead.

“Contrary to Administrator Stephen Johnson’s statement to the press, this standard is not protective of public health with an adequate margin of safety, as mandated by the Clean Air Act. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated 'no level of lead in a child’s blood can be specified as safe.' EPA’s own Staff Paper recommends the most health protective standard is within a range from 0.02 to 0.05 micrograms per cubic meter, and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee noted in an April 2008 study that the upper limits proposed by EPA would cause cognitive and developmental problems in young children exposed to those emissions,” said Dr. Michael McCally, MD, PhD, Executive Director of PSR.

PSR program director Dr. Kristen Welker-Hood worked to coordinate a letter to EPA Administration Steven Johnson from more than 200 physicians, public health officials and scientists urging the adoption of the 0.02 micrograms per cubic meter standard in order to protect public health, as required by the Clean Air Act. To view this letter, click here.

Physicians for Social Responsibility, founded in 1961, is guided by the values and expertise of medicine and public health and works to protect human life from the gravest threats to health and survival.

For more information contact Kristen Welker-Hood, RN, at 202-667-4260 or kwelkerhood@psr.org.

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Action Alerts

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    Tell the EPA: don't delay the proposed rule to capture leaking methane gas. Our health and the health of the climate cannot wait!

  • Tell Congress—defend the Clean Air Act against Big Oil!

    President Trump, his new EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, and some in Congress are attempting to block or weaken clean air and climate protections like the Clean Power Plan. Tell your member of Congress to support full implementation of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Power Plan.

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Resources

  • Video: Fracking - Too Dirty, Too Dangerous

    Former executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Catherine Thomasson, MD, presents findings from PSR's report "Too Dirty, Too Dangerous: Why Health Professionals Reject Natural Gas". It is based on summaries of recent medical and scientific studies which clearly convey the health threats that accompany use of methane as a fuel. Read more »

  • Webinar: The Fight for Solar

    Solar energy is one of our best hopes for a clean energy future – yet some utility companies are trying to stifle the spread of rooftop solar. Learn more about the fight for rooftop ("distributed") solar. Read more »

  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Fact Sheet

    RGGI has significantly reduced air pollution from fossil fuel power plants, improving the health of people living in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. Read more »

In the Spotlight

  • November 30, 2016
    Eating for Climate and Health
    PSR's new PowerPoint presentation on how climate change impacts food production, and agriculture's contribution to climate change.