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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Guest Submission by DB Reader Nick Scott

Cutting the budget, raising health risks

With gas prices increasingly high and employment a major issue, many are up in arms these days. Things like high gas and low employment have driven the GOP to fire away at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and aiming to reduce their budget by a third from the 2010 slate. With a decrease of budget for an organization that’s main goal is to combat toxins and pollution, there’s certainly an increased risk of certain diseases such as asthma, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other health problems. Some of the EPA’s major projects are responsible for improving fuel economy, air quality, and drinking water, while cutting down on the health risks that are related.

The EPA’s work with air quality involves the AQMG or Air Quality Management Group. This is an organization that’s run by the EPA as a resource for state and local environment groups. Their main task is to make models and programs for these smaller groups to follow through and improve air quality with. A reduced budget could mean a decreased impact on air quality, as well as higher related health risks such as asthma and other respiratory issues.

Another of the EPA’s important issues is the Safe Water Drinking Act. Through this initiative, the EPA regulates standards for most local water systems. They also communicate with local government and water suppliers to enforce their set standards. Overseeing these systems is greatly important in the battle to reduce health problems related to contaminated water, such as Hodgkin’s disease and some forms of cancer.

The EPA does a lot of work to have asbestos material removed from older buildings all over the country. Previously used as a common building material, asbestos is now known as the cause to diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, while both can be life threatening. With mesothelioma life expectancy being so severe, asbestos has been banned from use by most everyone. The EPA continues the removal process in a number of areas affected by asbestos and helping to put people out of danger. A reduction in resources for the EPA could mean fewer initiatives like asbestos removal which aim to keep health risk at a minimum.

It’s fairly obvious that the EPA is responsible for a number of health involved projects such as reduced water contamination, asbestos removal and air quality systems. Disregarding health risks and lowering the budget and resources of the EPA could spell life threatening issues for some.