Guest post from Dr. Lynn Goldman, a pediatrician, an epidemiologist, an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University.
Steven Milloy, a commentator for Fox News, recently published a piece in the Washington Times, attacking the bedrock clean air laws that protect Americans from pollution. In his editorial, “Doubting the health benefits of cleaner air,” Mr. Milloy claimed that the EPA “fabricated” statistics that mercury and other air toxics harm people. He demanded: “Show me the bodies.”
I was deeply offended. I know that so many husbands, wives and children can show him the bodies–those of their loved ones who dropped dead from a heart attack after breathing too much polluted air on a code orange or code red day. I could only think of the many children admitted to the hospital for asthma attacks on days when smog levels are sky-high, children who miss so many days of school that they can’t keep up with their classmates, children who must be on medication every day to lead anything close to a normal life.
As a research scientist, I know that volumes of medical science document the harm that air pollution does to the human body. The scientific community has concluded that air pollution causes disease and death. I know that people living in areas with high air pollution concentrations have excessive heart and lung disease, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and premature death.
As a pediatrician, I have attended to the children suffering from asthma attacks. They are too young to stand up to Mr. Milloy and his industry sponsors, but their developing lungs count on the protections the nation’s clean air laws provide.