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Along with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which was issued earlier this year, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are estimated to prevent up to 46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks among children, 24,500 emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
Just days before the beginning of 2012, the EPA has issued its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.
The standards are the first that have ever been released on a national basis with one vital goal in mind - to protect all American citizens from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution, including arsenic, acid gas, cyanide, nickel and selenium.
The standards have been designed in order to ultimately reduce emissions of such hazardous pollutants by utilizing pollution controls that have already been used at roughly half of the country’s coal-fired power plants in recent years. These controls are not only easily accessible in all regions of the U.S., but they have also been proven as effective mechanisms in the past.
"By cutting emissions that are linked to developmental disorders and respiratory illnesses like asthma, these standards represent a major victory for clean air and public health - and especially for the health of our [country's] children," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "With these standards that were two decades in the making, EPA is rounding out a year of incredible progress on clean air in America with another action that will benefit the American people for years to come."
Jackson continued, "The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will protect millions of families and children from harmful and costly air pollution and provide the American people with health benefits that far outweigh the costs of compliance."
“Since toxic air pollution from power plants can make people sick and cut lives short, the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are a huge victory for public health,” said Albert A. Rizzo, MD, national volunteer chair of the American Lung Association, and pulmonary and critical care physician in Newark, Delaware. “The Lung Association expects all oil and coal-fired power plants to act now to protect all Americans, especially our children, from the health risks imposed by these dangerous air pollutants.”
Along with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which was issued earlier this year, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are estimated to prevent nearly 46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks among children, 24,500 emergency room visits and hospital admissions. The two programs are also projected to provide a total of up to $380 billion in reduced health care costs throughout the coming years.
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