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Letter: Ozone pollution poses serious dangers

By now, the public should be used to opponents of more protective air pollution standards making inflated claims about cost (“Obama’s new ozone rules will cost Michigan jobs” ). Every time our nation has set new standards to limit dangerous air pollution, we’ve heard the same arguments, and they’re proven wrong time and time again.

The reality is that air pollution protections are a good investment. The EPA estimates that the benefits of the Clean Air Act outweigh the costs by as much as 30 to 1. Since the implementation of the Clean Air Act in 1970, air pollution has decreased by over 70 percent, while at the same time our economy has grown by more than 200 percent. Business leaders and lawmakers are putting our families at risk when they ignore the evidence and instead work to block clean air safeguards that help keep us safe.

As a registered nurse who suffers from asthma, I’ve seen firsthand the dangers of ozone pollution. Ozone pollution can cause breathing problems for healthy adults, but children, the elderly and people with lung disease are particularly at risk. It is a lethal pollutant that contributes to serious health problems, including more severe asthma attacks, increased risk of respiratory infections and frequent hospitalizations for people with lung diseases. We’re not sure what causes people to have asthma in the first place, but we do know that ozone exacerbates asthma for the more than 798,000 adults and 214,000 children in Michigan who already have it.

I join the American Lung Association in Michigan, the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of Michigan in calling on the EPA to set a more protective limit on ozone pollution.

Therese Smith,

registered nurse and board member,

American Lung Association

of the Midland States