Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Megan Sandel: Coal plant limits urgently needed to combat lung problems

To the editor:

Soon the Obama administration will issue a new, innovative proposal to protect public health from air pollution fueled by climate change. By requiring all new coal-fired power plants to limit their carbon emissions, people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulonary disease will one day be better protected. The American Lung Association has led the call for updated standards, and as a volunteer and a medical professional, I also believe the time has come.

Dirty air is responsible for tens of thousands of asthma attacks, millions of missed days of work and school, countless emergency room admissions and hospitalizations and even shortens lives. Climate change will make it harder to clean up our air, making breathing more difficult for the one in 10 Massachusetts residents who suffer from asthma. This is an especially scary thought for any parent who has watched their child struggle to breathe when they have an asthma attack.

It’s a long overdue relief for those of us in the public health community to see that the president recognizes the urgency of protecting the health of the American people by moving forward with proposing sensible air quality standards that will undoubtedly benefit generations to come.

Megan Sandel, M.D.

Boston

The writer is a volunteer physician with the American Lung Association of the Northeast.

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