Skip to Navigation
Skip to Content
Share this page

Support PSR!

Your membership supports PSR's work to reduce global warming, eliminate toxics in our environment and abolish nuclear weapons. YOU make our work possible. Thank you.

Donate Now »

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.

On sale now! Enter code M17ENV25 at checkout for 25% discount.

Physicians for Social Responsibility Highlights the Health Benefits of the Clean Air Act and Points to Further Opportunities for Saving Lives

May 3, 2011

Washington, D.C. (May 3, 2011)—Today, Physicians for Social Responsibility released its report, The Clean Air Act: A Proven Tool for Healthy Air.  The report provides a critical review of the health protections achieved through air pollution prevention.  Though progress has been made in cleaning America’s air, PSR’s new report identifies how pollution continues to threaten the health of Americans, and cautions that efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act will be at the expense of the health of vulnerable populations. 

Those most at risk to poor air quality include people with respiratory ailments such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, people with cardiovascular disease, young children, the elderly and communities that bear the greatest burden of air pollution emissions.  “It is our deep concern of the human suffering these people face resulting from dangerous air pollution that compels Physicians for Social Responsibility to stand united with others in the health community to promote clean and healthy air for all,” said Peter Wilk, Physicians for Social Responsibility Executive Director.

The Clean Air Act: A Proven Tool for Healthy Air describes the air pollution calamities and political history that led to the passage of one of the most monumental public health laws in our history.  Real improvements in air quality occurred in the US only after consistent federal standards were set for the whole nation.  The Clean Air Act: A Proven Tool for Healthy Air report describes several key air pollution prevention programs that are responsible for the public health protections.

“The Clean Air Act is one of the most remarkable and successful public health laws ever enacted,” said John Suttles, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center.  “It has protected tens of millions of American lives, yielding public health benefits that dwarf the cost to industry.  The ongoing assault by certain industries and politicians against the Act shows all too clearly that despite the unrivaled success of the Clean Air Act, some still value profits and politics over public health.”

“However, pitting the societal value of public health improvements against economic growth and stability has shown to be a false dichotomy with respect to the Clean Air Act,” said Kristen Welker-Hood, Physicians for Social Responsibility Director of Environment and Health Programs.  “Considerable reductions in dangerous air pollutants were achieved at the same time the U.S. population and economy grew.  In fact, according to a recent EPA study for every dollar spent on reducing air pollution the nation has made back $30 dollars in health benefits.”

The Clean Air Act: A Proven Tool for Healthy Air finds that the Clean Air Act is working.  Air emission levels for six of the most common air pollutants (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, and particulates) have been steadily declining and are expected to continue to decline with additional pollution prevention actions. The Clean Air Act: A Proven Tool for Healthy Air calls attention to the fact that breathing air toxics from outdoor sources contributes to 30% of our overall average lifetime cancer risk.  The report calls for necessary pollution controls of toxic air pollutants emitted from power plants, industrial boilers, and cement kilns to protect some of our most vulnerable populations.

Physicians for Social Responsibility urges health professionals and the broad public to voice support for the EPA in its legally mandated role of reducing air pollution and making America’s air safe to breathe.  To protect the health of your community PSR offers two suggestions for action:  Visit and sign up to become an activist; submit citizen comments supporting the EPA’s proposed rule to reduce mercury, other hazardous air pollutants and acid gas emissions from coal and oil-fired power plants. 


Physicians for Social Responsibility is the largest physician-led organization in the country conveying both the health risks and threats to human survival posed by nuclear weapons, climate change, and toxic degradation of the environment.  Founded in 1961 by physicians concerned about the impact of nuclear proliferation, PSR shared the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War for building public pressure to end the nuclear arms race.  PSR is dedicated to improving national policy formulation and decision-making about security, energy and the environment through the combined efforts of credible, committed health professionals and our active and concerned citizen members.  For more information, go to 


Action Alerts

  • Tell the EPA: Don't delay methane protections

    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.

More action alerts»


  • 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.