Dirty air sickens

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The typical commuter spends around 38 hours a year stuck in traffic, exposed to health-harming air pollution. Add to that those who live and work near busy roadways, and many of us find ourselves exposed to unhealthy air most of our waking hours. Even if you stay indoors or roll up your car windows, the dirty air that can trigger asthma attacks, stunt a child’s developing lungs and cause heart attacks can’t be avoided.

This is why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must finalize its Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards proposal as promised this February.

The proposal includes reducing the sulfur content in the gasoline we use to fuel our cars and trucks. This simple change would yield the air quality improvement equivalent to taking 33 million cars off the road. That’s nearly double the number of cars and trucks registered in Pennsylvania alone.

Once the EPA’s proposal is implemented, tens of thousands of asthma attacks will be avoided. Every year, emissions to hospitals and emergency rooms will decrease and many missed school and workdays will be avoided. Most notably, 2,400 lives will be spared every year. The cost? Only a penny a gallon.

On Friday, the EPA sent its proposed safeguards to the White House for final review. We urge President Barack Obama to move quickly to approve this common-sense public health safeguard and resist the temptation to allow further delays.

President and CEO
American Lung Association in Pennsylvania
Washington, D.C.

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