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AAP Statement on EPA Clean Power Plan to Regulate Carbon Emissions

8/3/2015 by: Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP, president, American Academy of Pediatrics

“The American Academy of Pediatrics commends the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking a step forward today to protect child health by releasing a final rule to limit carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. Part of the Administration’s Clean Power Plan, this rule will go a long way toward making our environment safer for children and will help avoid tens of thousands of child asthma attacks in the future. Power plants are the nation’s largest carbon pollution source, generating approximately one third of all U.S. greenhouse gas pollution, a leading contributor to climate change.

“Every child needs a safe environment. Unfortunately, according to the World Health Organization, more than 80% of the current health burden due to the changing climate occurs in children younger than five years old. Children suffer from allergic and asthmatic diseases, the devastating effects of natural disasters, food and water insecurity and increased heat-related deaths. Children also breathe faster than adults, spend more time outside and have lungs that are still developing, making them increasingly vulnerable to the environmental effects of global climate change.

“The Clean Power Plan is a welcome and needed step to help make the air we breathe safer and cleaner for children and for the environment. As the regulation takes effect, the American Academy of Pediatrics will work with the EPA to ensure the strongest possible standards to protect children where they live, learn and play.”

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 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. (www.aap.org)