Breathing toxic chemicals can have dramatic consequences on one's health. However, those trying to implement measures to make stronger air quality standards have met some obstacles.
This past summer, the Environmental Protection Agency bolstered sulfur dioxide air pollution standards for the first time since the early 1970s. Two states and multiple industry groups voiced their opposition to the new standards by filing court challenges.
The American Lung Association and the Environmental Defense Fund are backing the EPA, asserting that stronger air quality standards will prevent asthma attacks and other breathing related conditions.
"These bursts of sulfur dioxide pose a special problem for residents who live next door to power plants, but they also spread far beyond them," says American Lung Association's Janice Nolen. "EPA was right to adopt stronger standards that will save lives, and keep many people out of the hospital."
The Nemours Foundation says that approximately 159 million people live in an environment that subjects them to unhealthy levels of air pollution. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, long-term health effects associated with air pollution include respiratory disease, a condition that can result in higher life insurance premiums.