Power Plant Pollution Linked to More Than 38,000 Heart Attacks per Year - Environment Study Shows Direct Health Impacts of Power Plants on Public Health

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New study compares the premature deaths that would result under the Bush administration's air pollution plan, the existing Clean Air Act, and a proposal sponsored by Senator Jim Jeffords. Study based on EPA analysis and accompanied by a Web site that allows users to learn about health problems caused by power plants in their area.

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Power plant pollution cuts short nearly 24,000 lives, including 2,800 from lung cancer, and causes 38,200 heart attacks each year according to a new study on the environment from Clear the Air. The report, Dirty Air, Dirty Power was released by Clear the Air, a national public education campaign working to improve air quality by reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants. The report documents, for the first time, how many heart attacks and lung cancer deaths are caused each year by coal-fired power plants.

The study found that each of those people whose lives were cut short because of power plant pollution lost an average of 14 years, dying earlier than they would have otherwise. Dirty Air, Dirty Power is based on an analysis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s own air quality consultants using standard EPA methodology.

"The results are staggering," said Angela Ledford, Director, Clear the Air. "The Bush administration knows how to solve this problem. But instead of simply enforcing the law, they are allowing the polluters to rewrite the rules, weaken current law, and pass it off as progress."

The report compares the premature deaths that would result under the Bush administration's air pollution plan, the existing Clean Air Act, and a proposal sponsored by Senator Jim Jeffords to strengthen the Clean Air Act. The Administration’s proposal would allow 4,000 preventable premature deaths each year compared with simply enforcing current law, while repealing the very safeguards that could save those lives.

Clear the Air also launched http://www.cleartheair.org/dirtypower, a related interactive Web site that enables the public to learn about the health problems caused by power plants in their town, city, and state.

The report's Web site graphically shows how local power plants contribute to death and disease, including premature deaths from lung cancer and other cardiovascular diseases, non-fatal heart attacks, asthma attacks, emergency room visits for respiratory problems, and lost work days. Visitors to the site can also view how the numbers of premature deaths caused by air pollution vary under the Bush administration’s plan, current law, and Senator Jeffords' bipartisan proposal to strengthen the Clean Air Act. By 2020, the Jeffords bill would save 100,000 more lives than the Bush administration’s bill.

"The new Web site cuts through the spin, shows how state pollution-related numbers stack up against other states, and shows how the Bush administration’s dirty air plan will really affect public health," continued Ledford. "The American people have the opportunity to shape federal proposals by letting the Administration know that we need stronger, not weaker, clean air protections."

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