WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. joined fellow congressional medical professionals to send a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the EPA to maintain the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground level ozone. The EPA has proposed lowering the current standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65-70 parts per billion (ppb). This would put many parishes and counties out of compliance and is estimated to cost the economy $140 billion per year, place an average of 1.4 million jobs per year at risk, and cost the average household $830 per year due to increased gas, grocery and other consumption costs.
“… As healthcare professionals we rely upon the most accurate health data. From this vantage, we believe that the proposal’s harm outweighs its claimed benefits and are concerned that it could ultimately undermine our constituents’ health,” write the Congressmen.
“If the true intent here is to improve public health, then the Agency should factor how its ozone proposal affects every aspect of human health – including impacts from unemployment, poverty, and reduced access to health insurance. Public health should not be viewed in a vacuum, but rather considered holistically, mindful of the correlation between health and the economy.
“Studies show that income is a key factor in public health, a link confirmed by our first-hand experience as medical professionals caring for patients, including the low income and uninsured… We encourage EPA to protect American jobs, the economy, and public health by maintaining the existing ozone NAAQS.”
The letter is signed by Sens. John Barrasso, M.D. (R-WY); John Boozman, O.D. (R-AR); Rand Paul, M.D (R-KY); and Reps. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN); Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX); Earl Carter, Pharm.D. (R-GA); Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN); John Fleming, M.D. (R-LA); Diane Black, R.N. (R-TN); Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-LA); Brian Babin, D.D.S. (R-TX); Dan Benishek, M.D. (R-MI); Charles Boustany, M.D. (R-LA); Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN); Scott DesJarlais, M.D. (R-TN); Renee Ellmers, R.N. (R-NC); Paul Gosar, D.D.S. (R-AZ); Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD); Tim Murphy, Ph.D. (R-PA); Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA); Mike Simpson, M.D. (R-ID); and Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH).
Read the full letter HERE.