Gasping for Air: Toxic Pollutants Continue to Make Millions Sick and Shorten Lives

Fact Sheet
July 20, 2011

Forty years of Clean Air Act programs have brought steady and life-saving improvements to our air quality. Despite this important progress, however, many fossil fuel power plants, boilers, and cement plants continue to treat our skies like sewers. From soot to toxic heavy metals, dirty coal and fossil fuel smoke stacks emit vast quantities of dangerous pollutants that are well known to cause disease and death. The total cost of these health impacts is more than $100 billion per year. Until stronger standards to reduce toxic emissions from coal and fossil fuel burning industries are implemented, harmful toxic chemicals will continue to be released into the air of our communities, threatening public health.