Dozens of health professionals, health organizations to EPA: Protect babies from coal pollution

Clean Power Plan

Health Care Without Harm has joined dozens of medical professionals, health scientists, and national health care organizations in releasing a statement in opposition to the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which will weaken public health protections from coal plant pollution.

Included with the proposed EPA rule is the agency’s own analysis of what will happen to the health of the American people if coal plants are permitted to put more mercury, toxic chemicals, fine particles, sulfur dioxide, and the nitrogen oxides that create smog into the air we all breathe.

The EPA’s calculation of the ACE rule’s annual costs from the increase in premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma, bronchitis, and missed work and school days is itself a strong case against the agency’s proposal. But the health threat from the ACE rule is even worse. Because missing from the EPA’s calculations are the impacts of coal burning on infants’ brains, both before and after a child is born.

Coal plants emit mercury, lead, arsenic, and hundreds of toxic chemicals that harm brain development even before birth. The neurological harm from mercury alone is sufficient cause for concern about the EPA’s ACE rule. And in a separate action that will only compound the health damages the ACE rule will cause, the EPA is also moving to weaken restrictions on mercury emissions from coal plants.

The statement draws attention to the impact of mercury emissions on infants, noting that more than 600,000 babies are born every year with mercury in their bodies exceeding the level known to lower IQ. These babies will have reduced potential for productivity, achievement, and well-being for their entire lives.

According to the EPA’s own analysis, coal plants caused over 40 percent of mercury pollution in the United States in 2016. The proposed rule would reverse course on the progress this country has been making for over a decade to protect children from life-altering exposures to mercury.

Join with leading health organizations and health professionals nationwide in opposing this dangerous proposal. Submit comments urging the EPA to reject the ACE rule and fully implement the Clean Power Plan to protect babies and save lives by Oct. 31.

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