If coal-fired plant pollution is a concern for the general population, it's a critical issue for African Americans. Sixty-eight percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of coal-fired power plants -- the distance within which the maximum effects of the plants' air toxins are expected to occur.
These plants produce 386,000 tons of 84 different hazardous air pollutants each year, including arsenic and radioactive materials, which are linked to birth defects, brain damage, premature death, asthma, heart disease and cancer.
Limiting these emissions is especially critical for the health of African American children, who already have a 250 percent higher hospitalization rate and 500 percent higher death rate from asthma than non-African American children.
Together, we can send a strong message to the Environmental Protection Agency and stand up African American children and all children: Tell the EPA you support new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.
On behalf of my family and community, I urge you to maintain the standards you have set for the enforcement of the Clean Air Act and keep strong the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for coal-fired power plants.
African Americans suffer even greater negative impacts than the non-African American population from the emissions of coal-fired plants. They experience substantially higher emergency room visit rates, hospitalization rates and death rates from asthma and other respiratory ailments due to this kind of pollution.
African American children are not expendable and their health should not be sacrificed in furtherance of a business bottom line. The pollutants that make our children sicker and lower performing in school and make them suffer a diminished quality of life also cost families elevated health care costs and increased missed days from work.
In the name of African American children and every child, I support the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for coal-fired power plants. Thank you.
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