by: Colleen Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
"The plan unveiled today by the Trump administration to reverse the Clean Power Plan and undo critical protections for public health will hurt children. By lifting limits on the carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants, which are the largest source of these emissions in the United States, the new plan is a clear departure from the important work needed to ensure clean air and protect children, families and communities from the changing climate.
"According to the World Health Organization, more than 80 percent of the current health burden resulting from the changing climate occurs in children younger than 5 years old. Children breathe faster than adults, spend more time outside and have lungs that are still developing, which means environmental changes have a more significant impact on them. For children who suffer from asthma, poor air quality can turn playing outdoors into a real risk to their health. Children will disproportionately bear the burden of dirty air, increased incidence of vector-borne illnesses, increased natural disasters, heat-induced illness and death.
"All children should be able to breathe clean air, and their ability to do so should not be determined by where they live. As pediatricians, we see how the changes in the environment impact our patients' health, and we are disappointed in the reversal of a policy that recognized this connection and protected child health. Children deserve policies that ensure a safe environment and promote clean air."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.