Boxer plans hearing on toxins following U.N. report

Source: Jason Plautz, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Following the release of a World Health Organization report that designated air pollution as a human carcinogen, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she plans to hold a hearing on airborne pollution.

In a report released last week, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said there was “sufficient evidence” linking exposure to outdoor air pollution to lung cancer and an increased risk for bladder cancer. The report said that in 2010, as many as 223,000 lung cancer deaths were the result of air pollution.

The group, which publishes an encyclopedia of carcinogens, said it would add air pollution and particulate matter, a main component, to its list of Group 1 human carcinogens, the first time it had classified air pollution as a cause of cancer.

In response, Boxer said last week that she plans to hold a hearing on the “critical role played by the Clean Air Act in reducing the health threat posed to our children and families by toxins found in outdoor air pollution.”

A committee aide said that no hearing was scheduled but one will likely be held this fall.

The report has already bolstered advocates who say the findings should secure more protection for the Clean Air Act. In a statement last week, the American Lung Association said the IARC report was the “latest and most comprehensive” study on the subject and should “end the debate about the need to clean up air pollution.”