Today, the White House issued a press release stating they would not move to issue a final standard on ozone pollution. The American Thoracic strongly condemns this decision. "This is not change we believe in," said ATS President-Elect Monica Kraft, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Asthma, Allergy and Airway Center at Duke University.
Ozone, also known as smog, is known to endanger patients with asthma, COPD and other respiratory conditions. Scientific studies have consistently shown that ozone at the current EPA-approved levels leads to missed school days, more emergency room visits and hospitalizations--and even premature death.
"What President Obama has called a 'regulatory burden' is what we physicians call a protective health standard," noted Dr. Kraft.
A number of physician groups have called upon President Obama to issue a stricter ozone standard, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Thoracic Society.
"President Obama's announcement today represents a big set back for the public's health," said Dr. Kraft. "The ATS urges the President to reconsider today's disappointing decision, and we plan to redouble our efforts to educate and advocate for cleaner air for the benefit of all U.S. citizens."
Dr. Kraft is available for press interviews. She can be reached through Brian Kell, ATS Communications Director, at 516-305-9251.