Healthy Hospitals, Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Addressing Climate Change in Health Care Settings (pdf)
HCWH's co-founder Gary Cohen is a recipient of the prestigious Skoll Award. This video, chronicling the evolution of HCWH's work, premiered at the 2009 Skoll World Forum. enlarge video
The Clean Air Promise
I Promise to protect America's children and families from dangerous air pollution.
Because toxics and pollutants such as mercury, smog, carbon, and soot, cause thousands of hospital visits, asthma attacks, and even deaths.
I will support clean air policies and other protections that scientists and public health experts have recommended to the EPA to safeguard our air quality.
Use the Take Action links to the right to Make the Promise and share with others.
About the Clean Air Promise
Health Care Without Harm is asking health care professionals, responsible corporations, members of Congress, respected community leaders and citizens around the country to promise to protect the health of children and families from air pollution. Clean air saves lives, and we need to ensure clean air for our children and families in the future.
Clean air programs have provided strong public health protections that have saved hundreds of thousands of American lives and prevented countless asthma attacks, heart attacks, and early deaths. But industry lobbyists are working to roll back public health protections provided by clean air protections – essentially sentencing thousands of Americans to death, forcing hundreds of thousands of children to fight for every breath they take, and exposing unborn babies to levels of mercury that will make it impossible for them to lead normal lives.
Make no mistake: rolling back clean air and public health protections through legislation or irresponsible obstruction is an attack on the health of our families and communities. The pollution coming out of the smokestacks at power plants is ugly, dangerous poison that needs to be cleaned up. Instead it is landing in our backyards, on school grounds or playgrounds, and in the lungs of our children.
Industry leaders do not seem to care how hard it is for children to breathe; they only seem to care about their bottom line. But for us, the bottom line is the health and safety of our families and communities. We need to keep the promise we made to future generations and protect the clean air and public health policies that work for our families and protect our children. We need to do everything we can to reduce harmful air pollution from toxics like mercury and arsenic and other pollutants like carbon and ozone, and oppose the big polluters who are acting as if our children aren’t worth the cost of reducing these dangerous emissions.
THAT’S WHY WE’RE ASKING EVERYONE TO MAKE THE CLEAN AIR PROMISE
The good news is that scientists know that cleaning up the air makes a difference. Reducing air pollution can help protect children from asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses.
That’s why we’re asking community, business, and government leaders to make the clean air promise and protect clean air standards – because only they have the power to stand up for the most vulnerable members of our communities.
“I promise to protect America's children and families from dangerous air pollution. Toxics and pollutants such as mercury, smog, carbon, and soot cause thousands of hospital visits, asthma attacks, and even deaths. I will support clean air policies and other protections that scientists and public health experts have recommended to the EPA to safeguard our air quality.”
- Children Nearly 37 million children live in areas with unhealthy air due to ozone smog or soot pollution. Children often have greater exposure than adults to airborne pollutants, because they generally breathe more rapidly than adults, increasing their exposure to any pollutants in the air. In addition, children are often more susceptible to the health effects of air pollution because their immune systems and developing organs are still immature. Irritation or inflammation caused by air pollution is more likely to obstruct narrower airways. It may also take less exposure to a pollutant to trigger an asthma attack or other breathing ailment due to the sensitivity of a child's developing respiratory system.
- Older Americans Studies have found that older Americans who are exposed to higher levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized for pneumonia, a leading cause of illness and death in order adults. In addition, exposure to carbon monoxide increased the likelihood that older Americans with heart problems would be hospitalized.
- Pregnant women At least 1 in 12, and as many as 1 in 6 American women have enough mercury in their bodies to put a baby at risk of neurodevelopmental problems. That means that over 300,000 babies may be over exposed to mercury in utero, increasing their risk of neurological, developmental, and behavioral problems, such as lower IQ, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and impaired memory and motor skills. The cost of caring for these children has been estimated between $28 million and $3.3 billion annually. In addition, studies have found that exposure to air pollution during pregnancy significantly reduces fetus size, and that women who live in regions with high carbon monoxide levels or fine particle pollution were approximately 10 to 25 percent more likely to have a preterm baby than other women.
- African Americans Approximately 40 percent of African Americans live in areas where the air fails to meet Federal ozone standards, and 15.2 percent live in areas where the air fails to meet Federal standards for particulate matters. Coal-fired power plants are among the biggest polluters in the country, and 68 percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of one.
- Latinos Approximately 26.6 percent of Latinos live in areas where the air fails to meet Federal ozone standards, and 48.4 percent live in areas where the air fails to meet Federal standards for particulate matters.
- Ambient Ozone Concentrations Cause Increased Hospitalizations for Asthma in Children (pdf)
- The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020 (pdf)
- Climate Change and Human Health: A Nurse's Call to Action
- Driven to Extremes: Health Effects of Climate Change (pdf)
- The Economic Affliction of Asthma and Risks of Blocking Air Pollution Safeguards (pdf)
- EnviRN Knowledge Network: Climate Change and Health Provides an overview of climate change, explores health implications and provides an opportunity for advocacy on climate change issues
- Environmental Health Indicators of Climate Change for the United States (pdf)
- Interaction of the Onset of Spring and Elevated Atmospheric CO2 on Ragweed (pdf)
- Reducing Mercury Pollution (Air Toxics Rule) (pdf)
- Reducing Mercury Pollution (Mercury Mact Rule) (pdf)
- Reducing Ozone and Fine Particle Pollution (CSAPR Rule) (pdf)
- State of the Air 2011 - ALA Report (pdf)