Clean air is a pressing issue for the African-American communities across the country. Air pollution is bad for all of us, but especially our children. Did you know that African- American children have:
emergency room visits 4.5 times more often,
a 250% higher hospitalization rate, and
a 500% higher death rate from asthma, as compared with White children? (See U.S. Dept of Health, Office of Minority Health)
If coal-fired power plant pollution is a major concern for the general population, it is a critical issue for African Americans.
- Coal-fired power plants produce 386,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants per year.
- Coal-fired power plants produce 84 different hazardous air pollutants including: Acid gases, benzene, toluene and other compounds, dioxins, Formaldehyde,Lead, arsenic, Mercury and Radioactive materials, like radium and uranium.
- These pollutants are linked to birth defects, brain damage, premature death, asthma, heart disease and cancer.
-Sixty-eight percent of African Americans (compared to 56% of the white population) live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant- the distance within which the maximum effects of the smoke stack plume are expected to occur.
This petition is a simple act with a huge impact. Together we can send a strong message to the EPA about the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards that would, for the first time, regulate toxic air emissions-- including mercury, lead, arsenic and acid gas pollution-- from coal-fired power plants. Studies consistently show that the new standards will dramatically improve health, cut healthcare costs and create jobs. See of yourself- http://bit.ly/m4z0jX
These toxins so threaten the health of our children that to be silent is to consent to the continued devaluation their lives.
It's time we step up and be heard!
For more about the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, go here--http://1.usa.gov/kaarIv
We, the undersigned, on behalf of our families and our community, urge you to maintain the high standards you have set for the enforcement of the Clean Air Act. We are well aware that our community, the African American community, suffers far greater negative impacts from the emissions of coal-fired power plants. We know that we experience substantially higher emergency room visit rates, hospitalization rates, and death rates from asthma and other respiratory ailments due to this kind of pollution.
Our children are not expendable. We no longer wish for them to be sacrificed in furtherance of someone else's business bottom line. The pollutants that make our children sicker, lower performing and suffer diminished quality of life also cost our families in elevated health care costs and increased missed days from work.
We have had enough. We are fully in support of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards remaining strong for coal-fired power plants in the name of our children and every child.
Thank you for your time.