Working Against Your Family’s Health

Working Against Your Family’s Health

We’re all concerned about the health of our children. And with growing numbers of childhood cancers and asthma, attention must be paid to the causes as well as to prevention.

We know that dirty water can cause illness as can bad air and toxic chemicals.

But Eric Cantor is opposed to sensible measures to keep drinking water safe and to ensure that our air is fit to breathe.

In a memo to fellow House Republicans in August of 2011, Eric Cantor laid out an aggressive schedule to pass a series of bills to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving ahead with safeguards to reduce toxic pollution in our air and water.

This action, if successful, would result in tens of thousands of premature deaths per year, endanger public health, and costs American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in health care expenses and missed work.

The American people want EPA to safeguard our communities from toxic mercury, arsenic, soot,and other dangerous substances that come from the nation’s largest pollution sources, such as coal plants, oil refineries, and factories.

Cantor’s memo included six specific bills to prevent EPA from protecting our air and water:

  1. H.R. 2401, or the “TRAIN” act: This would prevent EPA from promulgating mercury and air toxics standards for power plants and from going forward with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to cut smog and soot pollution from power plants.
  2. H.R. 2250: This would indefinitely delay clean-up of toxic air pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators. These plants spew toxic air pollution such as cancer-causing dioxins and mercury, which harms children’s brains. The bill blocks critical health protections against mercury and toxic air pollution that are already a decade overdue, resulting in more asthma attacks, more illness, and avoidable deaths.
  3. H.R. 2681: This would indefinitely delay clean-up of toxic air pollution from cement plants and gives cement plants a free pass from controlling smog and soot pollution. Cement plants also emit mercury.
  4. H.R. 2273: This would block EPA from going forward with standards for coal ash that would protect our drinking water and our health (DOC). Coal ash is a well-documented threat to human health and the environment, and contains hazardous chemicals including: arsenic, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, and mercury.
  5. H.R. 1633: This would prohibit EPA from reviewing air quality standards for soot. The agency is currently studying the science behind the soot standards, as required by the Clean Air Act, but has yet to propose a standard.
  6. Carbon Pollution Standards: This bill would allow big polluters to continue dumping unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air, threatening the health of our children, families, and communities.

Collectively, these Cantor-sponsored bills will lead to:
• Up to 34,300 premature deaths,
• Over 17,800 additional asthma deaths
• Over 180,000 additional asthma attacks
• Over 3 million more days of missed work and school
• Billions of wasted taxpayer dollars treating preventable illness and disease caused by pollution.

Cantor’s push against EPA safeguards would burden American families with higher medical costs and health insurance premiums.

Every year, for the last 15 years, both Republican and Democratic Administrations have found that EPA standards deliver more economic benefits than any other agency, and that EPA standards have a better cost-benefit ratio than any other agency.

Eric Cantor also voted against safe drinking water.

Eric Cantor opposed protections against mercury, an element which can severely harm the brains of growing young children, and especially growing fetuses. Remember the story of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland? In past centuries hat salesmen used mercury to treat felt hats, but breathing the fumes seriously damaged their brains; hence the name “Mad Hatter.” Today, scientists estimate that about one sixth of all women of child-bearing age have enough mercury in their bodies to damage the brain of the fetus.

The American Lung Association points out that 154 million Americans live in areas with unsafe air. About 3.2 million children and 9.5 million adults live in areas with high amounts of smog. Thousands of people die prematurely as a result of air pollution. Yet Eric Cantor voted to continue more emissions of soot and increased smog pollution that sends thousands of kids and the elderly to the emergency room every year.