ICYMI: Carbon Doesn’t Kill — Poverty Does

This week, Dr. Jane Orient penned an op-ed in the Investor’s Business Daily which shows how EPA’s carbon regulations will harm public health. Orient, a general internist from Arizona, illustrates how despite EPA’s claims, the regulations actually make Americans poorer and sicker. Below is an excerpt from the piece:

As a physician with decades of experience treating thousands of patients, I believe the EPA’s “carbon” regulation would do tremendous harm to no benefit. EPA’s purported health benefits are purely speculative, and ignore the fact that making people poorer also makes them sicker.

Obviously, low-income communities are hurt the most by rising energy costs. Government data indicate that households in the lowest quintile spend more than 10% of their after-tax income on electricity, on average, compared with less than 3% for all households.

To keep the lights on, or to heat the baby’s bedroom, people may decide to skip a doctor visit, not fill their prescriptions, or forgo new tires for the car or other items needed for safety.

Dr. Orient also explains how EPA’s health claims are based on shoddy science that conflicts with the every day experience of practicing physicians:

Based on a few studies of differing death rates in areas with different levels of particulates, which could result from many other factors, the EPA just extrapolates to large populations, claiming that a small increase in particle levels can cause thousands to die or have an asthma attack.

Physicians simply do not observe this to happen. We also do not expect to see fewer asthma attacks, strokes or heart attacks if our already clean air becomes slightly cleaner.

In fact, a growing body of research suggests that EPA air regulations have reached a point of diminishing returns. A study published in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology concluded that toxicological data on particulate matter “strongly suggest that current ambient concentrations in the U.S. are too small to cause significant disease or death.”

Ultimately, Dr. Orient concludes that from a public health perspective, EPA’s carbon regulations do more harm than good:

A doctor would not prescribe a medicine that frequently sickened patients in order to treat a cold. But the EPA is trying to force states to adopt a remedy certain to cause unemployment and deeper poverty, based on dubious theoretical calculations that it might possibly prevent an asthma attack.

In the end, by increasing poverty, EPA’s “carbon” rule would hurt people more than it cleans up the air.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed.

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