Skip to main content

Great News for Lungs

We were thrilled in July when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled to uphold a clean air standard that limits dangerous intense bursts of sulfur dioxide pollution from power plants, factories and other sources. Sulfur dioxide is a pretty nasty agent that causes a variety of adverse health impacts including breathing difficulties, aggravation of asthma and increased hospital and emergency room visits for respiratory illnesses.

Today our lungs have an even better reason to rejoice: the Supreme Court has refused to review the appeals court decision, keeping the standard intact.

"We’ve known for more than a decade that bursts of sulfur dioxide pollution are dangerous, especially for asthmatics. It’s great news that the Supreme Court has joined the D.C. Circuit in letting stand EPA’s science-based, health-protective standard," Earthjustice associate attorney Seth Johnson said.

Earthjustice represented the American Lung Association and the Environmental Defense Fund in the intervention that defended the EPA’s 2010 sulfur dioxide air standard. The standard will prevent thousands of premature deaths, hospital admissions and emergency room visits, and more than 50,000 asthma attacks each year. Specifically, the standard will protect the health of millions of people at risk from sulfur dioxide, especially seniors, children and people with asthma.

Here is what ALA said back in July when the appeals court upheld the rule:

"Clean air health standards tell the public when air pollution can threaten their health," said Paul G. Billings, vice president of National Policy and Advocacy, American Lung Association. "These standards help protect the public health and are especially important for the most vulnerable, including more than 25 million people with asthma."