Toxic air pollution threatens our health

More than half of all Americans live in places with unsafe levels of air pollution, which causes heart attacks, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and even deaths every year.

Studies show that one in ten women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her child at risk of health effects should she become pregnant. This means that more than 689,000 out of the 4.1 million babies born every year could be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury.

The consequences are serious: Children who are exposed to even low-dosage levels of mercury in the womb can have impaired brain functions, including verbal, attention, motor control and language deficits, and lower IQs.  When these children are monitored at ages 7 and 14, these impairments still exist — suggesting that the damage caused by mercury may be irreversible.

3,781 bodies of water contaminated nationwide

Coal-fired power plants spew hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic mercury into our air every year, which falls to earth in the form of rain and contaminates rivers, lakes and streams.

And it doesn’t take much mercury to have a big impact on our health.  Scientists found that a single gram of mercury can contaminate an entire 20-acre lake.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, mercury impairs 3,781 bodies of water across the country. More than 6 million acres of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds in the United States are contaminated by mercury pollution.

Here in New York, the threat of mercury contamination led the Department of Health to recommend against eating fish caught in lakes, rivers and streams from the Mohawk River to Lake Ontario.

With your help, we can save 46,000 lives

Recently, the EPA moved ahead with efforts to significantly reduce mercury, soot and smog pollution, announcing historic new emissions standards that could save 46,000 lives a year. Unfortunately, polluters and their allies in Congress launched a coordinated attack to block these critical safeguards.

We’re working closely with our allies in the public health community, lobbying key senators, and rallying thousands of activists to stand up for public health.

It won’t be easy, but if enough of us speak out, we can drown out the coal industry lobbyists and make sure that the EPA is allowed to do its job and protect public health.

Clean Air Updates

News Release | Environment New York

Assembly Acts To Protect Health, Stop Fracking

Under the leadership of Speaker Sheldon Silver and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney, the New York State Assembly passed legislation to extend a two-year moratorium on the dirty drilling practice known as 'fracking'.

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News Release | Environment New York

New York Plans Deeper Cuts in Power Plant Pollution

Power plant pollution in the Northeast would decline by more than 20 percent in the next decade under a plan announced today by New York and other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

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News Release | Environment New York Research & Policy Center

New Soot Rules Will Save Lives

Today the Obama administration strengthened air quality standards for particulate matter or “soot” pollution.  Soot pollution is the deadliest of the common air pollutants, causing thousands of premature deaths every year across the country through a variety of cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses.

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Report | Environment New York Research & Policy Center

Wind Power for a Cleaner America

Coal- and natural gas-fired power plants pollute our air, are major contributors to global warming, and consume vast amounts of water—harming our rivers and lakes and leaving less water for other uses. Wind energy has none of these problems. It produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water.

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News Release | Environment New York Research & Policy Center

Wind Energy Production in New York Reduces Global Warming Pollution As Much As Taking 300,000 Cars Off the Road Each Year

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy and other recent extreme weather events fueled by global warming, Environment New York Research & Policy Center released a new report today showing that New York's current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 300,000 cars off the road per year. Existing wind energy production in New York offsets almost 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.


In the wake of Superstorm Sandy and other recent extreme weather events fueled by global warming, Environment New York Research & Policy Center released a new report today showing that New York's current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 300,000 cars off the road per year. Existing wind energy production in New York offsets almost 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

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