by: Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
"The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the Executive Order issued today that rolls back critical protections for children's health. The Order would stop all work to defend the Clean Power Plan, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule limiting carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. These power plants generate approximately one-third of all U.S. greenhouse gas pollution, a leading contributor to climate change. Without this rule in place, our children, who are uniquely vulnerable to changes in the environment, will disproportionately bear the burden of dirty air, increased incidence of vector-borne illnesses, increased natural disasters, heat-induced illness and death.
"According to the World Health Organization, more than 80% of the current health burden resulting from the changing climate occurs in children younger than five years old. Children breathe faster than adults, spend more time outside and have lungs that are still developing, meaning any environmental changes will have a more significant impact. For children who suffer from asthma, poor air quality can turn outdoor activity into a real risk to their health.
"As pediatricians, we know it is impossible to separate the status of our environment from its impact on our patients' health. The Clean Power Plan took significant steps forward for children by addressing the public health issue of climate change and by helping to improve air quality. Clean air should not be a luxury, and it should not be determined by ZIP code. We urge President Trump and his administration to support policies that ensure a safe environment for children and families across the country, rather than those that undo the gains we've made."