5 Scientists (and Dr. Oz) Make Clean Air Sense

BY ON June 27, 2011

Blue evening sky

Scientists are not political big shots, or the rock stars of the environmental movement. They are concerned citizens like you and I who set out to systematically discover and document answers to pressing scientific queries. Doctors, nurses, researchers and professors devote their lives to making the world a better place for our families.

More than 2,500 U.S. scientists sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to reject legislation that would gut the EPA of its protective safeguards and ignore the human toll that inaction would take on their citizens. Here is an excerpt from the Scientists’ Statement.

“We urge you (Congress) to oppose attacks on the Clean Air Act by respecting the scientific integrity of the EPA’s endangerment finding, and the agency’s authority to act based on this finding.”

We trust these smart folks with the health of our children. Scientists know that stripping the EPA of its ability to protect our children against environmental pollutants means more asthma attacks, more respiratory illnesses and disease, and more premature deaths. They are well aware that in the past 40 years, the Clean Air Act has prevented 400,000 premature deaths and hundreds of millions of cases of respiratory diseases, which is why…

5 Scientists Make Clean Air Sense

1. The Lung Doctor – Dr. Albert A. Rizzo of the American Lung Association and a pulmonary and critical care physician, responded to the release of American Electric Power’s evaluation of the impact of Clean Air Act pollution protections:

“Continuing to belch hazardous pollutants into the air we breathe is not an acceptable business practice and neither is threatening rate hikes and electricity shortages when big polluters are asked to clean up their toxic emissions. The EPA’s proposed mercury and air toxics reduction rule will prevent 17,000 premature deaths and 120,000 asthma attacks each year. Yet, American Electric Power (AEP) is irresponsibly attempting to scare Americans away from demanding that their children no longer be exposed to dangerous levels of pollutants like mercury and arsenic, and other toxic pollutants. Clean Air Act protections do not mandate the closing of power plants but rather set standards that many energy companies have met using existing technologies to successfully rein in dangerous pollutants. The imperative to clean up is strong: these toxins are directly linked to grave health problems, from developmental complications in babies and young children, to asthma attacks and long-term lung complications. After more than two decades of delay, big polluters and their friends in Congress want further delays rather than investing in pollution cleanup.”

2. The Pediatrician Dr. Jerome A. Paulson, for the American Academy of Pediatrics, testified last week at the Senate’s Clean Air Act and Public Health hearing. The whole testimony is powerful, but here’s his statement on the effects of mercury on children:

“As a pediatrician who has cared for children suffering from the health impacts of air pollution, I am incredibly concerned about threats to clean air and the effect of air pollution on children’s health…The developing fetus and young children are disproportionately affected by methyl mercury exposure, because many aspects of development, particularly brain maturation, can be disturbed by the presence of methyl mercury. Minimizing mercury exposure is essential to optimal child health.”

3. The Science Professor –  Dr. Arden Pope, a Brigham Young University epidemiologist who led a New England Journal of Medicine study, found that efforts to reduce fine particle pollution from automobiles, diesel engines, steel mills and coal-fired power plants have added between four and eight months to the average American’s life expectancy:

“It’s stunning that the air pollution effect seems to be as robust as it is…However, the continuing problem demonstrates that more remains to be done, especially in cleaning up coal-fired power plants and existing diesel engines.”

4. The Heart Doctor Dr. Robert Brook is the lead author of The American Heart Association (AHA) report stating that there is strong evidence that air pollution can clog arteries, and cause strokes and heart attacks.

“Particulate matter appears to directly increase risk by triggering events in susceptible individuals within hours to days of an increased level of exposure, even among those who otherwise may have been healthy for years.”

5. The Energy Scientist Steve Clemmer, the Director of Energy Research for the 
Union of Concerned Scientists claims that limiting coal, gas and nuclear power, and boosting the renewable energy practices of wind and solar, could meet 27% of America’s electricity needs by 2030:

“Unlike natural gas, coal or nuclear plants, wind and solar plants don’t produce air or water pollution, global warming emissions or waste products, and use much less water.”

Oh, there is a rock star scientist…and he knows Oprah!

Dr. Oz says:

“It’s sobering news that one in five people still live in communities with lethal levels of smog and particulate pollution — the toxic soup of chemicals, metals, acids, ash and soot that triggers asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and early deaths. Makes you want to close the windows, bar the door and stay home.”

The science proves that that Clean Air Act is the bedrock that protects our children from pollution that otherwise would make their lives shorter or less healthy. For the sake of our kids, does it make sense to debunk and diminish the warnings of scientists?

Here’s how to speak up…or forever hold your breath:


TOPICS: Asthma, Coal, Economics, Mercury Poisoning, Politics, Pollution, Science

  • Jeremy

    Its hype and media that say citizens are against the ‘clean air act’. It’s not the act. Its the corruption growing in the unbalanced, non-sustainable economic agenda surrounding it – including those organisations being sponsored to build the PR mentioned above. PR pumping, profiteering corrupt organisations in the guise of being non-profit – in my opinion.

    • Steve

      That’s odd Jeremy, I think the corruption is largely in the organizations hired to kill the CAA through political influence and PR by megacorporations who percieve a financial gain in destroying (or at least defanging) the Clean Air act and the EPA.

  • Curtis Rivers

    The Clean Air Act is neither a corrupt tool of industries or a non-sustainable economic agenda, but a common-sense response to an ever-growing crisis with man-made origins. Cleaning our air is basic, and cannot be done by half-measures. It must be an aggressive and comprehensive approach, which the Clean Air Act proposes. Existing energy industries have mounted a gigantic effort to demonize the Act for the sake of keeping their profits at record levels. Greed is the sole reason there is opposition to this Act, but too many Americans buy into the propaganda of the energy concerns. The Clean Air Act must not fall, and the EPA must not be gutted by those whose only agenda is personal gain.

    • Vanessa

      I agree whole-heartedly Curtis; it is all greed from which all the opposition originates. The fact of the matter is, is that if complying with the act, it would initially cost more, but also significantly reduce costs in the long run. Since costs would be reduced significantly, so wouldn’t the amounts that consumers would need to pay. Energy companies are striving for being compensated and reimbursed right away which is why they are saying that they are going to have to raise consumer costs, which is just plain greed. After compliance, their costs are going to be reduced, there are going to be decreased needs in non-sustainable sources, and their revenues are going to end up being decreased due to the lack of costs due to the necessary, significant reduction in billing because the electric companys would not be able to substantiate their already rediculous prices. I read my electric bill and see 5 or more different fees for usage and then again for the exact same fees for processing at a different, higher price.

      • Mary Ann Pastore

        I agree…… Greed is destroying us from many directions. We need to change our Gov. set term limits, get them off the payroll when they are out of office….. and the should be paying toward their own healthcare as most of us do, than imagine the money that will be available to make our Country a better place of everyone. The propaganda machine has so many people brainwashed. I support OWS who are now helping farmers fight Monsanto another industry of nothing but polution of our food.

    • Lucy


    • Samuel Chappell

      I agree that the attacks on the CAA and the EPA is the result of greed by polluters, and what is even more troubling is the fact that there are always time limits before a law goes into effect. It isn’t like polluters have the day after to clean up after themselves, but instead, they have months to get a plan ready for implementation and startup. Instead, they use the time to bitch, whine, and complain to politicians threatening them with talks of rate hikes, plant closures, and unemployment to get them to reconsider.

      What we need is to identify all polluters who are against clean and safe enviroment, and then cultivate relationships with those in these corporations who can give responsible people access to information that can be used to cause them to change how they do daily business. Some may call this a form of blackmail, but these corporations will not do anything unless it hits their bottom line. Which is better – having them pay millions to an organization who can help families in need because of a corporation’s pollution, or getting a reporter to reveal insider information on these corporations that will identify everyone in Congress who takes money to uphold the corporations interest.

      Once the corporation’s mouthpiece have been removed from public office, it will be a long time before anyone takes money again from the corporations – especially those corporations with a history of pollution. Then with new blood in office, the citizens of this country can call for amendments specifying term limits and more accountibility in government. The fight may be dirty, but so is politics – anyquestions?

  • Kimberly

    In the old days, when coal miners went into the mines they would bring a bird in a cage with them to let them know when the air was to bad to breathe and they better get out of the mine.
    Now days, we have whole flocks of birds falling out of the sky in mid flight dead. And this is not in some mine. This is the air outside that we all depend upon to breathe. If you don’t believe the scientists, believe the dead birds. Our air is toxic and if we want to keep breathing, we better clean up our air!
    When I go for a checkup, I am always asked if I smoke after they listen to my lungs, I have always been a non-smoker. I didn’t have asthma as a kid but I have it now. It started in my teens and now 27 years later I have to carry an inhaler. It’s not rocket science. It’s plain old common sense. I want to breathe.

  • I totally agree with you, Curtis. So many people buy into the propaganda that we have a choice – jobs or clean air. Meanwhile, the Clean Air Act is in jeopardy of being gutted as it is chipped away at daily.

    Kimberly, thank you so much for the bird story – so fascinating. Yes, it’s not rocket-science. We all NEED clean air.

  • I support anything that honestly supports the health and peaceful existance of the university and all it’s inhabitants

  • Success in your work.

  • Jo Anne

    Clean air is a necessary component of our lives, and we must do everything we can do to assure that our children and grandchildren (as well as ourselves) have accesss to it.

  • I use three inhalers, one 2 puffs 4 x daILY, ANOTHER 2X DAILY , AND 1 ONCE A DAY TO ENABLE ME TO BREATHE. I cannot expose myself to the air when it is humid causing the ozone layer to engulf us. We fought for Clean Air and now wehave to fight TO KEEP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • roger

    with 1 in 2 guys getting cancer in thier life time and 1 in 3 gals, i would say there is a growing problem. when i was young, it was 1 in 4 that would get cancer! and are lakes and rivers are full of these toxic things from the air and we drink it as well. when will people wake up and push to stop the deaths that need not be and clean up the way we live as people! many forms of life are gone forever every year! how long before we kill are selfs be cause we would not change the way we live for the good of all living things!

  • In addition to doctors and scientists, many people of faith also support the EPA and reducing pollution. See the National Council of Churches web site for details.

  • Anyone have any strategies to share re those living in smaller communities, who do not experience the more obvious problems those in large metro areas deal with? If it is not obvious to some, they just disregard it. Thanks. Helen

    • T. Maguire

      Yes, tell them to not believe the propaganda fed to them by corrupt corporations and the politicians now linked to them — thanks to Citizens United and our friends in the Supreme Court who, ironically, are supposed to act as the people’s last line of defense from corruption in politics and the powers that be in our society — and spouted out by corporate wonks/public relations specialists and internet trolls in the form of this column’s initial letter writer Jeremy.

  • It is a right for everyone to be able to breath well and in safety.
    It is not a right for business to make money while hurting their customers and other people.
    I can’t believe that this kind of business practices can continue.
    We need to vote and continue to express our dismay toward these rude actions by big business to continue business as usual.
    Wall Street needs more people and help.

  • JohnL

    Clean Air? Look in to what is going on with the use of Indoor and Outdoor woodboilers. The EPA wont restrict the amount of particulate matter (PM 2.5). Kids and Families are suffering! Want to help??? Go to this link and sign my petition on banning them from villages and hamlets. When you do see the people that signed! This is a problem everywhere! The politians wont do a thing ! Obama is turning his head! Sen. Schumer says its not a federal issue! If this site edits my link –the petition is on the Care2 Petition site under “Stop Wood Boiler Pollution”! Dr. Oz please help our kids breathe fresh,clean air.

  • Darryl

    Excellent Article! This week, I received a letter from my Senator Rod Johnson (of Wisconsin) telling me that the annual cost of $1.7 trillion, for keeping our air and water clean, is too high and that is why he is pushing to gut the EPA of it’s regulatory power. Senator Johnson was a businessman (Plastics Industry) before becoming a Senator, so one can only imagine where his interests are. Also, keep in mind that one of the biggest businesses benefitting from all of the illnesses, brought about by pollution, is the medical and pharmaceutical community. Heaven help us if they’re “in bed” with the polluters too!

  • John N Florida

    If you want to view the pollution in your town, ask a light plane pilot for a ride to 3000′ AGL. The difference will boggle your mind. The pollution is readily apparent. It lies like a ‘fog’ over the area.
    Clean air and clean potable water are 2 things all animals need including the human animal.
    An exchange from the recent MCAT Hearing
    Dennis Kucinich (D-OH): “Is it possible that if you don’t have clean air standards that it could also create health problems for people?”
    Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli: “Sure that’s the trade-off here. That’s the trade off.”
    Kucinich: “Is dirty air good for poor people?”
    Cuccinelli: “Dirty air isn’t good for anybody. Jobs are good for everybody.”
    Kucinich: “Can you think of jobs that are created by poor air standards?”
    Cuccinelli didn’t have a specific answer for that – which led Kucinich to say:

    “I was just wondering if [Cuccinelli] was including in his advocacy the jobs that are created for undertakers when people don’t survive as a result of poor air standards.”

    This is the mindset of the people who are against the EPA Regulations.

  • Vicki Mircalesmile Stone






  • larry

    Keeping the EPA strong and making them stronger is a small job creator. The job of installing the soot filters and air cleaners in smoke stakes will add some to the economy. Could be some permanent jobs if we can get back to the idustial nation we used to be.

  • Those against clean air act will eventually have to watch one or more of their family with breathing problems. I was told at 50 yrs. Old that i now had asthma, 3yrs. Later I was Diagnosed with C.O.P.D! IT is awful,all kinds of things triggers the suffocating symtons! This is what greedy polititions are causing to happen to all of us,including their own families! WHEN ARE WE GOING TO VOTE CARING PEOPLE INTO OFFICE!? WE ARE BECOMING A FASCIST NATION,WAKE UP AND FIGHT FOR CLEAN ENVIRONMENT,ITS TIME FOR SIMPLE TRUTH !ITS DIRTY AIR,WATER AND POLITICS!!!!

    • Edna Becker

      I too have COPD, have been disabled since 2003, went into cardiac arrest, was in a coma for 1 mo., hospitalized for 2 mos., near death experience. I’ve never missed voting though. I contact our senators repeatedly, without a positive reply…it’s like talking to a couple of rocks. Very frustrating!

  • Peter S.Mulshine

    I am 56 ,at 36 yrs old I developed asthma & had many numerous trips to the emergency room for breathing problems.10 yrs ago I was diagnosed w/ copd.I can’t work anymore & am on disability.

    • Lou Basile

      We are the people and either these politicans start to represent our interests and concerns or we will have to throw them out thru the political process or otherwise. They have been breaking the laws of the constitution and mother nature for while now. My feels we can do this the easy way or the hard way, the hard way get ugly for everyone involved and our kids pay price if we do nothing

    • Edna Becker

      Me too, Peter! I’ve replied to too many people with these same health problems, saying “me too”. Sad.

  • Gloria R. Doo

    To Everyone: This is my first visit and comment. There is a site that issues a “scorecard” showing the major outdoor air pollutants in or near a specified city. To find your city, visit http://www.scorecard.org.
    To Kimberly: I am an ex-canary. It is a long story, but I am 98% recovered from a near death experience. It involved unclean air. I was diagnosed with toxic encephalopathy. My five year recovery lead me down a healing crisis that included also have to overcome Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. MCS patients are in actuality the “canaries in the coal mine”.

  • J. Bauer

    I think it’s kind of ironic that people like governor Perry Condemns his own
    children to death right along with the rest of us, now thats ignorance. I have C.O.P.D.
    When I asked my doctor what caused it he said the filthy air we are forced to breath.

    J. B.

    • Edna Becker

      Me too, J. Bauer!

  • Mary Graf

    I have emphysema because of the dirty air I breath. I use oxygen every night and three inhaliers every day. We need to use more solar and wind because it safe energy.

    • Edna Becker

      Mary, as I posted above, I too have emphysema & am now on oxygen 24/7. I’ve contacted our (Texas) 2 senators on many issues, including environmental issues. It’s like talking to brick walls. I think they think we’re being silly. I know how I will vote in the future on environmental issues, but let’s face it…I live in a very conservative state…very frustrating, but I will continue to pester them & vote on the issues.

  • It’s time we cleaned up the mess we helped make for our children and grandchildren.

  • Linda Simpson

    We need to rid ourselves of lobbiests and politicians who would sell us and our planet out for a profit. The mercury in the air is killing us and our world. I have two grandchildren and I want them to be able to breath! I did not have asthma as a child, but now I have attacks and can not breath. The mercury is falling into the rivers and lakes and the oceans and causing problems there also. It is no longer safe to catch and eat the fish here in New Mexico because of mercury levels.

  • We need to rid ourselves of politicians who worship at the alter of corporate greed. They play the 99% against each other. Jesse Ventura said on a talk show it’s not difficult to figure out what’s going on. The planet can easily support 2 billion people and there are 9 billion people on the planet today. That means an excess of 7 billion. SO they pollute our air,frack our landscape to pollute our drinking water and make our land unfit for
    anything living. I remember my Dad saying politicians make one or more groups the scape goat to distract the public from their deals behind closed doors. Anyone you elect who has any worth is beaten down by the time he gets to where he might be effective. They join the club and their perspective changes. We are forced to subsidize processed foods that are nothing but stale empty toxins. While the American family farmer can’t scratch out a living on the land. The corporate farms are busy supplying corn syrup to poison every processed food they sell us. And there is too much salt in everything including the water.

    • Cheryl F

      The problem is we all talk! That’s it. We all need to protest as a united front to stop these greedy companies and make our elected officials do something!! Arline is right, they do get beat down. But we need to let them know just how mad we are. We have so much more power than we think. Alot of people say their to busy, or what can I do, etc.etc We need to be heard!! If we don’t do something soon our poor children will have a planet with no resources just because these GREEDY companies want to make money. Do they ever think of their families futures?? How much money is enough, how much??!! They are raping our planet with no regard for the generations that will have to pay for OUR mistakes. We are all a little greedy, including me. We would have to change our life styles drastically so the planet will live because we are definitely killing it! We can use the internet for more than just sharing what we had for dinner. Any idea’s?????

  • Bob LaMorte

    In the 40’s and 50’s, industrialization was a good thing, but today we’re choking on our own pollution. The reason? Speculation. Speculation in the energy market is responsible for both the high pirces and the reckless marketing/consumption death spiral we’re locked in. Is it really necessary to drive a car 40 or 50 miles to work each day? Can’t we wait until we go to sleep to turn on the a/c? I firmly believe EVERY school child should be, or rather NEEDS to be educated in ecology, conservation, and energy efficiency. By not doing this, we are ensuring the demise of our own civilization. We have already created an un-sustainable balance of devellopment and pollution levels, and it appears to be getting WORSE. Industrial pollution isn’t even regulated in the world’s two fastest growing industrialized nations; China and India. By blindly wasting resources we are the parasite that kills it’s host. We are killing the planet
    at a faster rate than it can regenerate itself. A cataclysmic event is coming soon and we did it to ourselves.

  • JohnL

    I agree with Dr OZ, but you just cant close your doors or windows. PM 2.5 is the size of the pollution. 2.5 microns. All houses are not tight to stop it from coming in and polluting your air. But just dont comment here tell everybody to call and write the law makers. A good start is to ban Hydronic wood furnaces. There are over a 1/2 million nowin the nothern US. If they would ban them it would make the air a whole lot better! At least with a regular woodstove you can put a Catalytic Converter on you can not on a hydronic wood furnace

  • Dave in Buffalo Grove

    Thank you all so much for speaking out on this! It is so refreshing and reassuring to see voices for reason and sanity, and HEALTH, out in public. I can’t imagine that our view is not in the majority. I love my family, community and country, and want the best for all! Please flood your legislators with your thoughts on these, and all the issues that pit the 1%, and Corporate America against We The People. Unless we unite as a groundswell, speak out loud and long, and refuse to go quietly into the night; Unless we push back with force (peacefully of course), we will never see change, because they like it just the way it is, and they think that they have all the power, because they have all the money. Money rich does not equal right! Ask your heart what is right and fair. Speak out long and loud!


  • Edna Becker

    Just watch the weather reports on local news….extremes…we’re having extreme high temps, extreme weather we created…droughts, fires, etc… this is the legacy we’re leaving our children & grandchildren. Watch how the animals suffer, the polar bears, penguins. These are the warnings we had in the 1980’s, which were laughed at by the right wing politicians….some are still laughing, saying global warming is not real.

  • Edna Becker

    I have COPD. I must stay inside. I can feel the effects very quickly if I leave my apartment. I take some responsibility for the emphysema, but not all the responsibility for the air quality. I’ve been aware of the effects of bad air, smog, ozone levels for a long time & have tried to listen to the scientists, doctors & experts on this issue.

  • Lourdes Acevedo

    This is something that everyone should be concerned about for it affects us all!!!

  • Angelena Jolly

    I agree with what Dr. Oz, the scientists and people are saying about the unclean air and the politicians thinking about themselves. but it is not as worse as seeing the african children starving for food, clean water and fresh air in their country. With respect my heart goes out to them.

  • max

    The problem is that we the people dont stand up together . for if we did we could end all this and more. we have the power not them we just dont use it.