Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
While the American Lung Association in California applauds the significant improvements in air quality in the valley over the past decades, your story “EPA: Ready to kill more jobs?” failed to acknowledge that there is still significant work to be done to make the air safe to breathe. There are still high health and medical costs from breathing air pollution in the Valley, including heart attacks, stroke, asthma attacks, cancer, and related missed school and work days. California State University, Fullerton researchers have calculated that the health and economic benefits of meeting federal clean air standards in the eight-county Valley region would total approximately $6 billion a year.
Children, whose lungs are still developing, suffer the most from air pollution. In addition to stunting lung growth, recent research in Fresno showed that air pollution is linked to permanent genetic changes in the immune cells. Air pollution also kills. According to the California Air Resources Board, fine particle pollution causes approximately 1,500 deaths in the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin each year.
Regulations to reduce air pollution are vital to the health of the Valley’s children and families, who suffer some of the most polluted air in the country. That’s why the American Lung Association in California is calling on the EPA to strengthen federal clean air standards. Air pollution controls also spur growth in the new green economy and generate new jobs and revenues. Any delays in pollution reductions only causes harm to our economy, and puts our children and our communities at risk for illnesses, hospitalizations and premature death.
Senior Director, Policy and Air Quality
American Lung Association in California