Science Group Supports Bill to Expand Pollution Monitoring for At-Risk Communities

Statement by Dr. Gretchen Goldman, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jul 30, 2020

WASHINGTON (July 30, 2020)—Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) have introduced the Public Health Air Quality Act of 2020, a bill that would increase air-quality monitoring and ensure that communities get reliable information about pollution exposure.

Below is a statement by Dr. Gretchen Goldman, research director for the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS.

“People across the country are exposed to hazardous air pollution that threatens their health, and this burden is disproportionately borne by communities of color and low-income communities. It is a pervasive and preventable form of discrimination that environmental justice advocates have been fighting for years.

“Scientists are discovering more every day about the cumulative effects of long-term pollution exposure. And now there’s emerging evidence that the damage caused by air pollution may exacerbate the risks posed by COVID-19. Communities near polluting facilities are especially at risk, and they deserve better.

“The Public Health Air Quality Act would protect the most at-risk communities by making sure they can get accurate, accessible and up-to-date information about the air they breathe. By significantly expanding monitoring of particulate matter, ozone, ethylene oxide, chloroprene, formaldehyde and other harmful pollutants, the bill would provide an indispensible tool.

“The United States is facing the biggest public health crisis in a hundred years, and our elected officials must prioritize reducing the damage that fenceline communities suffer from from air pollution. But no one can solve such an intractable problem without reliable data, and this bill would arm communities with the information they need to hold industries and public officials accountable. Passing this bill would be a major step toward cleaner air and better health for all.”