Health Care Without Harm Steps Up Advocacy Efforts as Threats to Clean Air Act Increase
Teams with ALA, Other Health Groups to Focus on Health Consequences if REINS Act Passes
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) has joined the American Lung Association and other organizations concerned with public health to sponsor an appeal to members of the House and Senate to end efforts to prevent updates to the Clean Air Act. The health organizations assert that Clean Air Act delays will increase chronic illness associated with air pollution, including asthma among children, and increase the already unsustainable cost of health care.
“There is a clear correlation between air pollution and chronic illness, such as asthma, heart disease, and respiratory disease,” stated Eric Lerner, director of Health Care Without Harm’s U.S. Climate and Health Program. “At some point we need to stop blaming health protections for job losses. There is room for regulations and jobs, but the health of the nation is paramount to developing and keeping a strong workforce. And it is important that we reduce health care costs to help strengthen our economy.”
HCWH is co-sponsor of advertising in support of the Clean Air Act developed by the American Lung Association that is running this week in some of the publications most widely-read by Capitol Hill staff, and is also co-sponsoring a briefing today arranged by the American Lung Association for Senate staffers on the threats to the Clean Air Act. These actions are being taken as Congress considers the Regulations for the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act which would postpone a number of regulatory actions by the Environmental Protection Agency indefinitely while cost impact studies are conducted.
“At a time when health experts from all over the planet are gathering in Durban to discuss ways to stem threats to public health brought about by uncontrolled air pollutants and callous disregard for the consequences of our actions, it is ironic that some members of the U.S. Congress are intent on neutralizing the very agency that was established to help prevent these threats to health from these sources, ” stated Gary Cohen, president and founder of Health Care Without Harm. “The Clean Air Act has saved thousands of lives and millions of dollars in health care costs. Without its protections, we can count on more illnesses, more lost lives, and steadily rising health care costs. That’s not only problematic for public health, it adds increasing financial burdens on the nation’s fragile economy.”
More than 24 million Americans — including seven million children–suffer from asthma, with direct and indirect costs of treating the nation’s worsening asthma epidemic already exceeding $53 billion, according to a report issued earlier this year by Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN).
HCWH is an international coalition of more than 500 organizations in 53 countries, working to transform the health care industry worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. For more information on HCWH, see www.noharm.org.
SOURCE Health Care Without Harm