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EPA Report Underscores Clean Air Act’s Successful Public Health Protections

Landmark law saved 160,000 lives in 2010 alone

WASHINGTON - A report released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the benefits of reducing fine particle and ground level ozone pollution under the 1990 Clean Air Act  amendments will reach approximately $2 trillion in 2020 while saving 230,000 people from early death in that year alone.  The report studied the effects of the Clean Air Act updates on the economy, public health and the environment between 1990 and 2020.

The EPA report received extensive review and input from the Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis, an independent panel of distinguished economists, scientists and public health experts established by Congress in 1991.

"The Clean Air Act's decades-long track record of success has helped millions of Americans live healthier, safer and more productive lives," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson."This report outlines the extraordinary health and economic benefits of one of our nation's most transformative environmental laws and demonstrates the power of bipartisan approaches to protecting the health of the American people from pollution in our environment."

"The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020" shows that the benefits of avoiding early death, preventing heart attacks and asthma attacks, and reducing the number of sick days for employees far exceed costs of implementing clean air protections.  These benefits lead to a more productive workforce, and enable consumers and businesses to spend less on health care -- all of which help strengthen the economy.

In 2010 alone, the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than:
  • 160,000 cases of premature mortality
  • 130,000 heart attacks
  • 13 million lost work days
  • 1.7 million asthma attacks
In 2020, the study projects benefits will be even greater, preventing more than:
  • 230,000 cases of premature mortality
  • 200,000 heart attacks
  • 17 million lost work days
  • 2.4 million asthma attacks
This report estimates only the benefits from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments built on the significant progress made in improving the nation's air quality through the Clean Air Act of 1970 and its 1977 amendments.  The overall benefits of the Clean Air Act exceed the benefits estimated in this report, with millions of lives saved since 1970.

The report is the third in a series of EPA studies required under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments that estimate the benefits and costs of the act.  The reports are intended to provide Congress and the public

with comprehensive, up-to-date, peer-reviewed information on the Clean Air Act's social benefits and costs, including improvements in human health, welfare, and ecological resources, as well as the impact of the act's provisions on the U.S. economy.

More information and a copy of the summary report: http://www.epa.gov/air/sect812/prospective2.html

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