Media Advisory: American Lung Association Misleads Public, Says Expert

Published May 1, 2007

(Chicago, Illinois – May 1, 2007) Today, the American Lung Association released its State of the Air 2007 report. The following comment on the report is from Joel Schwartz, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. You may contact him directly at [email protected] or by calling Harriette Johnson at 312/377-4000.

“In State of the Air 2007 (SOTA), the American Lung Association (ALA) has at last acknowledged that ozone is declining around the U.S. But ALA falsely claims particle pollution has been rising.

“SOTA goes only through 2005, a year when particulate pollution rose from 2004 levels. But particulates continued their long-term decline in 2006, hitting a new record low.

“ALA and other environmentalists continue to claim the Clean Air Act has been ‘gutted’ and ‘rolled back.’ But back in the real world, air regulation has steam-rolled forward.

“ALA is also misleading about the reasons for low air pollution, claiming it was due to ‘favorable weather.’ They don’t mention that ozone remained low in 2005 and 2006, despite these being two of the hottest years on record.

“In addition, ALA claims the rise in particle pollution in 2005 was due to ‘increased electricity production’ from power plants, omitting the fact that sulfur dioxide from power plants (the source of power plant particulates) has been dropping.

“Perhaps most pernicious of all, ALA vastly exaggerates the harm from recent, historically low air pollution. A wide range of data show our air is already safe to breathe. Air pollution of all kinds has been dropping for decades, yet the prevalence of asthma and respiratory ailments has been rising.

“Environmentalists shamelessly parade asthmatic children before journalists’ cameras, but their plight is unrelated to air pollution. Even EPA scientists have conceded that at worst, ozone accounts for a few tenths of a percent of all respiratory distress.

“Regardless of how clean or safe our air is, environmentalists will continue to foment anxiety out of all proportion to the minor risks posed by today’s record-low air pollution levels. Environmentalism is a big business. Its product is fear. The more they sell it, the more power they have to impose their own anti-energy, anti-prosperity agenda.”