The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 22, 2013

Public health benefits from cleaner gas


Considering Columbia and Montour counties produce 40 percent and 100 percent more emissions (respectively) from mobile sources per capita than the statewide average, delaying the implementation of these necessary gasoline and tailpipe emissions standards is not at all in the interest in our community's health, especially when the technology to make these changes readily exists today and is well supported by the auto industry.

Every day, I see in my practice the debilitating consequences our region's dirty air has on those who are living with chronic respiratory diseases like asthma and COPD. The serious nature of asthma alone is too often overlooked. It cuts short 5,000 lives every year and increases the demand for emergency medical care and hospitalizations when pollution levels rise above healthy levels as they so often do here in northern region of our state.

While the merits of this measure already enjoy broad public support and promise to produce nothing short of an extraordinary safeguard to public health, if EPA cannot continue to demonstrate to the president and Congress the continued urgent public demand for healthier roadways, cleaner gasoline and vehicle standards may be sidelined in favor of other competing priorities now facing Washington during this time of fiscal crisis.

Remaining silent, particularly among those of us who care for people with lung disease, is a grave disservice to our patients who most need our advocacy and expertise now to demand a healthier future on their behalf.

Dr. Allison Freeman,

Director/Allergy & Immunology

Geisinger Health System

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