The American Nurses Association (ANA) today joined a group of health care professionals to testify before a Senate panel in support of The Clean Air Act. Delaware Nurses Association member Sarah Bucic, MSN, RN, was among the panelists invited to provide remarks to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Ms. Bucic spoke to lawmakers about the positive impact The Clean Air Act has had on the public health, and the ongoing threat environmental pollutants pose to public health.

"The bottom line is pollution creates more patients," Bucic testified. "From a nursing perspective, we are fixed in a state of keeping patients with chronic conditions like asthma and other pulmonary and cardiovascular conditions stabilized, when we all know that prevention is the only real, effective and long-term treatment."

According to research from the American Lung Association, 154 million people, more than half the nation, endure pollution levels that make the simple act of breathing hazardous to their health. Recently, at least 19 bills have been introduced in both chambers of Congress seeking to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing The Clean Air Act, citing negative impact on businesses and the economy. However, the EPA estimates the economic value of substantial air quality improvements realized by the year 2020 would be almost $2 trillion. A study released in April from Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE), and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) showed that the direct and indirect costs of treating the estimated 24 million Americans with asthma exceeds $53 billion.

Registered nurses, who comprise the nation's largest group of health care professionals, have a crucial role in assessing and addressing environmental health issues and their impact on the public's health. ANA has been a leader and advocate for public policy that preserves and improves environmental protections vital to a healthy and productive society. To learn more about ANA's efforts, please visit ANA's Environmental Health website.

Source:
American Nurses Association (ANA)

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