Texas Clean Air Matters

Selected tag(s): autism

New Rule Expected to Dramatically Reduce Hazardous Power Plant Emissions

Perhaps next week we’ll all be able to breathe just a little bit easier with the much- anticipated Wednesday, March 16 announcement of a new Air Toxics Rule.

The Environmental Protection Agency will announce a rule that will, for the first time, limit hazardous emissions from our nation’s power plants. These pollutants threaten the health of every American with annual emissions of more than 386,000 tons of dangerous air pollution like mercury, acid gases, heavy metals and even radioactive materials.

Unlike criteria air pollutants – like ozone and particulate matter – there are no current national ambient air quality standards for air toxics. This means that there’s no regulation on the amount of harmful air toxics that can collect in our air, water, or wildlife. Once in the environment, many of these toxic compounds are there forever.

While we have yet to learn all of the implications from harmful exposures to air toxics, we do know that some of the most serious health effects are most severe in infants and young children and include brain damage, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, and impaired vision and hearing. We also know that reducing exposures can reduce risk, and that reducing risk is the best and most immediate way to protect human health. Read More »

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Air Pollution: New Studies, Same Conclusions

While we can debate all day about specific levels or exact factors actually harming our health, we seem to know on a general level that air pollution just isn’t a good thing to have around. Science is constantly evolving, and we are learning more every day about the hazards of pollution and the role that the environment has on our health.  Recently, new reports on air pollution and disease have surfaced, providing more evidence that air quality may affect us even more than we thought.

Last week, researchers suggested a possible link between autism and children born of mothers living close to a freeway during the third trimester.  Heather Volk, lead author of the paper published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, told the LA Times that the study “isn’t saying exposure to air pollution causes autism” but that “it could be one of the factors that are contributing to its increase.”

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