Dear Editor: I recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislative staff working with Sens. Johnson and Baldwin and discuss the health implications of multiple environmental rollbacks being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the decades, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Water Rule, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, and other life-saving environmental laws have made our country’s air and water much cleaner and safer. We need to strengthen these policies, not weaken them.
As a public health nurse, I have worked with many communities dealing with the harmful effects of air and water pollution. Sadly, children and the elderly are most at risk. Nurses see children suffering from increased asthma attacks from smog and damp basements caused by unprecedented flooding. I have seen children playing in pesticide-laden flood waters. Air pollution causes multiple adverse health outcomes for pregnant women. We see elderly people and people with chronic diseases whose heart and lung conditions are exacerbated by poor air quality.
These populations are the ones who will suffer from the decision to weaken environmental protections. Allowing more air and water pollution will cause more illnesses, hospitalizations, lost work and school days, and premature deaths across Wisconsin and the nation. We must all speak out and challenge these dangerous EPA rollbacks. Clean air and water must be protected.
Jessica LeClair, MPH, RN
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