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The Clean Air Act (CAA) is the comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources. Among other things, this law authorizes EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and public welfare and to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants. For more information on the Clean Air Act visit the EPA website.

The United States adopted the Clean Air Act in 1970 to protect our health from dirty, dangerous air. Thanks to that law, cities throughout the nation have cleaner air. Yet, science tells us that too many cities still have dangerous levels of air pollution. The American Lung Association works to push the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set and enforce strong pollution limits. We fight in the courts to enforce laws designed to make the air cleaner. And we advocate in Congress to protect these legal tools from people who want to make them weaker. 

NARA Docummerica Smoke Stack

The Clean Air Act of 1970 stands out today as a major accomplishment. It has led to significant reductions in emissions and concentrations of pollutants that harm public health, despite a growing economy, increasing energy consumption, and greater vehicle use. Among its innovative provisions were national air quality standards, state implementation responsibility, use of the latest scientific information to assess air quality standards, and regular updating of the technology standards that protect public health.
    Despite these accomplishments, the work of the Clean Air Act is not over. Science tells us that even low levels of air pollution harm health, and many parts of the country still suffer from unhealthy air. Most health-related air pollution is bound up with emissions that cause climate change, a major environmental and health threat on its own.
    The Center for Environmental Policy in the School of Public Affairs is proud to be a part of Unbreathable: The Fight for Healthy Air. This production comes at a propitious time, when we all need to be reminded of the critical role that clean air plays in our lives. We are delighted with our partnership with the American University Center for Environmental Filmmaking and the American Lung Association on this film and related events.

Daniel F. Fiorino

Director, Center for Environmental Policy

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