50 Years Later: The Clean Air Act of 1970
50 years ago, Congress signed a landmark bill – The Clean Air Act of 1970. This bill helped reduce air pollution, spurred energy-efficient machines, cars, and helped Americans breathe easier, but there’s still more work to be done. Now, the American Lung Association is asking everyone to join the Stand Up For Clean Air initiative to help make healthy air accessible to everyone.
Stand Up for Clean Air Initiative
The initiative focuses on creating clean air at home, at work, at school, and outdoors. It also focuses on reducing climate change and addressing air quality concerns after a natural disaster. Lastly, people can read about the state of the air in their community in the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report.
Its most recent State of the Air report states that nearly half of Americans live with unhealthy air. Most of that unhealthy air is a result of the byproducts of climate change.
“Climate change results in increased levels of wildfire smoke, worsened ozone pollution, more extreme storms and frequent flooding, which leave behind mold, polluted floodwater residue and other damage, exposing people to indoor air pollution as they clean up and repair homes. Many sources of climate pollution – power plants, oil and gas operations, and cars and trucks – also produce air pollution that is directly harmful to lung health.” – Harold Wimmer, American Lung Association CEO and President
Air pollution contributes to premature deaths, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and asthma attacks. Children, older adults, and those with underlying health conditions are most vulnerable.
Resources to Create Healthy Indoor Air Quality
Indoor Air Quality for Workplaces
With its Stand up for Clean Air initiative, the American Lung Association wants to create better indoor air quality. In doing so, the ALA provides several resources to help users advocate for these changes.
Fortunately, the ALA is not only the group advocating for healthy buildings and better indoor air quality.
The TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard has been advocating for healthy buildings for 40 years. Through its advocacy, the school has completed and promoted studies that indicate production declines when employees are in an unhealthy workplace. Workers in these poor conditions type slower, take more sick days, and are generally less productive. Healthy insurance provider Kaiser Permanente estimates that the net result of this absenteeism and poor production costs businesses thousands of dollars per employee.
Indoor Air Quality for Schools
Students in poorly ventilated schools face similar problems. They lack focus, are more likely to get sick, and subsequently are more likely to be absent. This can result in lower performance. The American Lung Association and Environmental Protection Agency have collaborated to create a toolkit to help schools improve their indoor air quality with low-cost initiatives. Benefits include improved academic performance, higher rates of attendance, and healthier children.
Advocate for Clean Air
To join the fight against poor indoor air quality and air pollution, you can visit the American Lung Association and become an advocate.
“Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change and ensuring clean air for all,” Wimmer said. “Our hope is that everyone – from individual citizens to industries, federal and state governments, and companies and brands – recognize that everyone is needed to ensure clean air for all and address an obstacle as unprecedented as climate change. I hope you’ll join us in realizing our vision of a world free of lung disease.” – Harold Wimmer
Please note: Aprilaire is a partner of the American Lung Association. We are a national sponsor of the American Lung Association’s fundraiser Fight for Air Climb FY20.