EPA report says Clean Air Act has saved thousands of lives

Washington, D.C., March 2, 2011 — A report released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the benefits of reducing fine particle and ground level ozone pollution under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments will reach about $2 trillion in 2020 while saving 230,000 people from early death in that year alone.

The report studied the effects of the Clean Air Act updates on the economy, public health and the environment between 1990 and 2020.

The EPA report received extensive review and input from the Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis, an independent panel of distinguished economists, scientists and public health experts established by Congress in 1991.

In 2010 alone, the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than 160,000 cases of premature mortality, 130,000 heart attacks, 13 million lost work days and 1.7 million asthma attacks.

In 2020, the study projects benefits will be even greater, preventing more than 230,000 cases of premature mortality, 200,000 heart attacks, 17 million lost work days and 2.4 million asthma attacks

This report estimates only the benefits from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments built on the progress made in improving the nation's air quality through the Clean Air Act of 1970 and its 1977 amendments. The overall benefits of the Clean Air Act exceed the benefits estimated in this report, with millions of lives saved since 1970.

The report is the third in a series of EPA studies required under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments that estimate the benefits and costs of the act. The reports are intended to provide Congress and the public with comprehensive, up-to-date, peer-reviewed information on the Clean Air Act's social benefits and costs, including improvements in human health, welfare, and ecological resources, as well as the impact of the act's provisions on the U.S. economy.

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