Toxic air pollution threatens our health

More than half of all Americans live in places with unsafe levels of air pollution, which causes heart attacks, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and even deaths each year.

Studies show that one in six women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her child at risk of health effects should she become pregnant. This means that more than 689,000 out of the 4.1 million babies born every year could be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury.

The consequences are serious: Children who are exposed to even low-dosage levels of mercury in the womb can have impaired brain functions, including verbal, attention, motor control, and language deficits, and lower IQs.  When these children are monitored at ages 7 and 14, these impairments still exist — suggesting that the damage caused by mercury may be irreversible.

3,781 bodies of water contaminated nationwide

Coal-fired power plants spew hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic mercury into our air every year, which falls to earth in the form of rain and contaminates rivers, lakes and streams.

Wildlife that is exposed to mercury may develop more slowly, have reduced fertility or even die, depending on the level of exposure. And it doesn’t take much: Scientists found that a gram of mercury — about a drop — deposited in a mid-sized lake in Wisconsin over the course of a year was enough to account for all of the mercury subsequently found in that lake’s fish population.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, mercury impairs 3,781 bodies of water across the country, and 6,363,707 acres of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds in the United States are contaminated by mercury pollution.

With your help, we can save 46,000 lives

Recently, the EPA moved ahead with efforts to significantly reduce mercury, soot and smog pollution, announcing historic new emissions standards that combined could save 46,000 lives a year. Unfortunately, polluters and their allies in Congress launched a coordinated attack to block these critical safeguards.

We’re working closely with our allies in the public health community, lobbying key senators, and rallying thousands of activists stand up for public health.

It won’t be easy, but if enough of us speak out, we can drown out the coal industry lobbyists and make sure that the EPA is allowed to do its job and protect public health.

Click here to join our campaign.


Issue updates

Report | Environment Iowa

Wind Energy for a Cleaner America

A new report released by Environment Iowa shows that Iowa’s wind energy is already avoiding more than 8.4 million metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution – the equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road, while saving nearly 3.8 billion gallons of water per year – enough to meet the needs of over 158,000 people.

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News Release | Environment Iowa

New Report: Wind Energy Yields Major Environmental Benefits for Iowa; Reducing Pollution and Saving Water

Wind energy is on the rise in Iowa and providing huge environmental benefits for the state, according to a new report released today by Environment Iowa. Iowa’s wind energy is already avoiding more than 8.4 million metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution – the equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road, while saving nearly 3.8 billion gallons of water per year – enough to meet the needs of over 158,000 people.

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News Release | Environment Iowa

EPA to Save As Many As 34,000 Lives With New Clean Air Protections

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a historic clean air standard to cut deadly smog- and soot-forming pollution from power plants in the eastern half of the country.  EPA estimates that the rule will save as many as 34,000 lives in 2014.

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