Statement on American Lung Association Air Quality Report

April 28, 2005
Ralph Conner

(Chicago, IL -- April 28, 2005) As it has since 1999, the American Lung Association released today its State of the Air 2005 report.

And as has been true since the first report was issued, the new edition briefly acknowledges improvements in air quality ... and then moves on to its real purpose, which is to frighten Americans about the air we breathe, in order to enhance the ALA's fundraising and political lobbying efforts. (See "State of the Scare Once Again," http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=14947.)

Experts contacted by The Heartland Institute disagree with the ALA's assessment of air quality in the U.S. and challenge its tactics.

Joel Schwartz, visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and contributing author to The Heartland Institute's Environment & Climate News

"The American Lung Association's State of the Air reports aim to create the impression that air quality in the United States is bad and will get worse without tough new federal government mandates on businesses and consumers.

"As it always does, this year's report downplays positive trends in air quality across the U.S., over-estimates the number of people exposed to air pollution, and exaggerates the threat to human health from current, historically low, air pollution levels.

"All Americans breathe cleaner air than they breathed 25, 15, and even five years ago. 2003 and 2004 were the best years in history for ozone. And air pollution emissions will continue to decline, thanks to already-adopted requirements for all types of motor vehicles, power plants, and industrial facilities. Pollution emissions will continue to decline even if we do nothing new.

"And even as these positive air quality trends continue, we can be sure the American Lung Association and its fellow fear-mongers will continue to ignore the good news."

Steven Hayward, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute

"The American Lung Association's State of the Air report is a smoldering stogie of misinformation.

"The group's penchant for advocacy leads them to distort the facts, but neither the public nor the environment is well-served by their deliberate scare-mongering. The truth is a lot less frightening ... and a lot more useful for policymaking."

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, policy advisor to The Heartland Institute and professor of economics, Sellinger School of Business and Management, Loyola College in Maryland

"Once again the American Lung Association is shamelessly using scare-mongering as a fundraising tactic.

"Based entirely on flimsy speculation, the ALA spectacularly claims that air pollution 'kills tens of thousands of Americans each year.' And, 'Don't assume you're safe just because you're healthy,' says the ALA. 'Invisible particles' will get you ... unless of course, you send the ALA a check, right away. The bigger the better."


Editors and reporters: The following experts and analysts are available to comment on the report.

Dr. Jay Lehr, Science Director, The Heartland Institute, 740/368-9393, lehr@heartland.org

Mr. Joel Schwartz, Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, 916/203-6309, joel@joelschwartz.com

Steven F. Hayward, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, 202/862-5882, Hayward487@aol.com

Dr. Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute, and Professor of Economics, Sellinger School of Business and Management, Loyola College in Maryland, 410/617-2755, TDilo@aol.com


The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit organization based in Chicago. Founded in 1984, its goal is to help build social movements in support of ideas that empower people. Among other publications, Heartland publishes Environment & Climate News, a monthly newspaper addressing environment policy issues. Heartland is supported by approximately 1,500 donors and members. For more information, call Ralph Conner, Public Affairs Director, 312/377-4000, or email him at conner@heartland.org.