03/25/2011 04:46 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Why I'm Fighting For Clean Air

I'm what you might call an Older Mom. I'm 55, and my kids are in their twenties. I guess they're adult kids, out of the house and living on their own. But you know what? Once a mom, always a mom. I still worry about them.

That's why I am outraged that some powerful politicians and lobbyists are gearing up to make it easier for polluters to poison our air. They want to cut funding from the Environmental Protection Agency that enforces our Clean Air Act, and they want to weaken pollution standards.

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency released the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, the first-ever national policy for coal- and oil-fired power plants to limit emissions of 84 different poisons, including mercury, benzene, hydrogen chloride and radioactive materials. These are lethal toxins that cause brain, lung and heart damage, cancers, diseases, and premature death.

Air pollution isn't just dirty. It is poisonous. Just because we don't see toxic emissions doesn't mean they aren't hurting us -- and our babies.

Mercury is really terrible stuff. It is a neurotoxin that harms fetuses, and the developing brains of young children. Over 400,000 newborns are affected by mercury pollution every single year. As the American Academy of Pediatrics notes, "mercury in all of its forms is toxic to the fetus and children, and efforts should be made to reduce exposure pregnant women and children as well as the general population."

Here's what really burns me up. The cost-effective technology to keep coal plants from spewing lethal chemicals into the air is available right now. Many power plants already use it to meet the new emissions standards.

We can keep poisons out of our air.

Every once in a while, I indulge in fantasies about what it will be like to have grandchildren. I even go to bookstores and browse through beautiful picture books, remembering holding a freshly bathed child in my lap. That gets me thinking about the kind of world my grandchildren will be born into.
I want to be able to give my children the reassurance that I did what I could to make the world a better place for them, and for their children.

Toxic air pollution is hurting us -- and our babies -- everyday. It's time we put a stop to it.

Cross-posted originally from Moms Clean Air Force