The most effective way to reduce a family’s exposure to air pollution is to stay indoors when the air is too dangerous to breathe. Air monitors are essential tools for measuring air quality. The EPA monitors day-to-day air quality risks. But, are they?
An investigative report from Reuters found that air monitors routinely miss pollution. They even missed a refinery explosion. In fact, U.S. air monitors identified no risks at all from 10 of the largest refinery explosions in the last decade. Toxic air pollution from refineries is especially dangerous, as it can include damaging particles that can cause or worsen health problems such as asthma, heart disease, and cancer. Since we are still firmly in the grip of a deadly respiratory virus, this is especially troubling.
The report found that local, community-based monitoring systems detected pollution spikes that the EPA missed. Even when EPA monitors found high levels of pollution, Trump’s EPA ignored the numbers in favor of allowing industry to continue to pollute. Without accountability, communities that are most at risk bear the brunt of toxic air pollution.
Remember, Trump falsely claimed that America had the world’s cleanest air, just hours after a report cited federal data from The Associated Press that showed that air quality was slipping after years of improvement. A Yale study ranked the nation’s air quality in 16th place globally. For comparison, our neighbor Canada’s air ranked 7th in the world.
Understanding the quality of the air we breathe is vital to keeping our children healthy. The Trump administration has clearly failed American families by exposing us to more air pollution. As we look to a new administration, we need an ambitious plan and action right now to keep us safe from air pollution.