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AAP Statement in Response to Weakening of Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

12/29/2018 by: Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics

"The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision yesterday to weaken Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) is a dangerous step backward for children's health. These standards have successfully reduced power plant emissions of the harmful neurotoxin mercury by 90 percent. This public health success has protected children, families and our environment. By undoing the critical progress made, this decision will put children's health at risk.

"Children are especially vulnerable to environmental changes as they are smaller in size, breathe faster than adults, and experience rapid and critical periods of growth and development. Mercury emissions from power plants put children at risk. Exposure to mercury can cause brain damage, learning disabilities and birth defects in children. Without necessary standards in place, children will be exposed to dangerous pollutants that have negative consequences for their growing bodies and minds.

"These standards save lives – without strong protections in place, children will disproportionately bear the burden. As pediatricians, we urge the EPA to maintain these critical standards, and call on Congress to protect the MATS rule so that all children, regardless of their ZIP code, can breathe 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 and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.