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800,000 Strong for Kids Health, Against Mercury Pollution

Press Release / Last Updated:

New TV Ad Calls for Elected Officials, Citizens, and Community Leaders to Protect Public Health

Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters today launched a months-long campaign, including a significant national advertising effort, seeking to renew America’s promise to protect clean air and public health embodied in the highly successful and popular Clean Air Act.

"Americans from all walks of life will be asked to make the 'Clean Air Promise,’" said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the national League of Women Voters.

"We are deeply concerned about attacks on EPA and health protections. Any action to block the EPA from updating Clean Air Act protections, or any delay on behalf of the Administration to avoid implementing new clean air and industrial pollution requirements, is an attack on the health of our children and families, plain and simple," she said.

The Clean Air Promise Campaign will call on citizens, elected officials and community leaders around the country to join in making this simple promise to protect the health of our children and families:

"I promise to protect America's children and families from dangerous air pollution.

"Because toxics and pollutants such as mercury, smog, carbon, and soot, cause thousands of hospital visits, asthma attacks, and even deaths.

I will support clean air policies and other protections that scientists and public health experts have recommended to the EPA to safeguard our air quality."

Through the Clean Air Promise campaign, the League of Women Voters hopes to inform and engage Americans on the issue of clean air and to demonstrate what is at stake. Some public officials are trying to undermine the Clean Air Act and to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to limit air pollution and emission of toxics like mercury, arsenic and other dangerous substances which threaten public health. The League will ask its members to make the promise to protect clean air and will actively work to engage the public and our leaders to make the promise as well. Other clean air advocacy groups are expected to join the campaign in the coming days and weeks.

"We have to promise each other to protect our air. So the League of Women Voters is asking our communities to stand up and demand that our elected officials promise to keep us safe from the pollution that we cannot control ourselves," said MacNamara.

"This is a social commitment that we make to each other and which we depend on our elected officials and Congress to carry out and safeguard. Clean air saves lives, and we need to ensure clean air for our children and families in the future. We look forward to working with others to renew the clean air promise," MacNamara said.

"Air pollution causes thousands of asthma attacks and emergency room visits – but that’s not all. Air pollution is also responsible for debilitating lung disease; heart attacks; damage to infants’ and children’s developing brains, robbing them of IQ; cancer, and deaths," said Dr. Peter Wilk, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility. "That is too high a price for the American people to pay.

"We can and we must clean America’s air. We can’t let politics stand in the way. Speaking on behalf of doctors and health professionals across the country, Physicians for Social Responsibility deeply supports the Promise Campaign," Dr. Wilk added.

"As the mother of an asthmatic child, I have seen firsthand the effects of poor air quality and air pollution," said Alexandra Allred, a mother of an asthmatic child and an advocate for clean air. "My son has been battling this painful and debilitating disease for years, and it’s time that our political and government leaders took the common-sense steps to control the air pollution that hurts him. We need stronger public health protections so other families and children aren’t forced to suffer. I say 'thank you’ to the League of Women Voters for dedicating their organization’s time, talent and resources to fighting dirty air," she said.

For decades, the League of Women Voters has put the health of families ahead of other concerns. The League was one of the first environmental organizations to speak out for the Clean Air Act and the EPA. Today’s announcement included the release of a new television ad supporting the Clean Air Promise campaign. The ad, featuring a voice over by Alexandra Allred, asks viewers to make their own promise to support clean air and ask others to do the same. The ad features several asthmatic children conducting everyday tasks and being treated for asthma. To watch the ad, click here. To learn more about the Clean Air Promise, visit





Home movie footage…

Kids with nebulizers and inhalers,some with parents, some alone, some outside, some inside.

ALEX ALLRED: We’re not asking for your pity, or your sympathy.

We’re not asking for your time,

or your wallet.

We’re just asking…

for your promise.

Alex Allred, aged 46, is an author, kickboxing instructor, the author of more than 20 non-fiction books, and a passionate advocate on clean air issues. She is a former U.S. bobsledder, winning the gold medal at US Nationals in 1994, and was named the Athlete of the Year by the US Olympic Committee in 1994. She served as the Executive President of Downwinders, an anti-pollution organization in Midlothian, from 2010 to 2011.

Pictures o f:


Alex, age 11

Ella, age 8

Kamira, age 3

Sophia, age 11

Chris, age 9


Every year in this country, harmful emissions cause thousands of illnesses, asthma-related hospital visits and even deaths.

We’re asking every citizen, every elected official, and every parent in America to promise to protect our children from dangerous pollution.


Go to

Don’t just support cleaner air for our kids.

Promise it.

Approximately 20,000 people a year die prematurely from air pollution. A 2009 National Academy of Sciences study reported that nearly "20,000 people die prematurely from such causes [air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels]." [The New York Times, October 19, 2009]

Mercury pollution from refineries, chemical plants, and other industrial facilities causes as many as 2,600 premature deaths a year. In 2011, the EPA proposed an updated standard for mercury emitted by industrial facilities. This updated standard will prevent as many as 2,600 premature deaths, 4,100 heart attacks, and 42,000 asthma attacks a year.

Mercury pollution from power plants causes as many as 17,000 premature deaths a year. In 2011, the EPA proposed an updated standard for mercury and arsenic from power plants. This update will prevent as many as 17,000 premature deaths and 11,000 heart attacks a year as well as 120,000 asthma attacks.

Smog and fine particle pollution will cause as many as 34,000 deaths in 2014 alone. Power plant emissions contribute to harmful levels of smog and soot. Delaying EPA’s updated standard will result in many as 34,000 deaths, 15,000 non-fatal heart attacks, and 400,000 asthma attacks in 2014 alone.

Ozone pollution will cause as many as 12,000 deaths in 2020. Ozone is the primary component of smog. Lowering the amount of ozone in the air to the level recommended by scientists would save as many as 12,000 lives and prevent as many as 58,000 asthma attacks and 5,300 heart attacks in 2020.

Picture of Noli, age 8

Text: Make the promise

Brought to you by the League of Women Voters


JULY 25, 2011

Contact: Kelly Ceballos
[email protected]
(202) 263-1331

Peter Wilk, MD
[email protected]
(202) 587-5240

About the League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Learn more:

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