Breathing easier: Clean Air Act gets results

January 07, 2013

The federal government credits the Clean Air Act with significant decreases in air pollutants – and measurable health benefits for Americans.

Americans are breathing easier and living healthier lives since the Clean Air Act was enacted in 1970. The government credits the Clean Air Act with significant reductions in air pollutants. Lead is down 83 percent since 1990; sulfur dioxide, down 75 percent; and carbon monoxide, down 73 percent.

Further, the Environmental Protection Agency says the act has led to measurable health benefits for Americans, including fewer missed work days and emergency room visits. 

Despite these gains, however, approximately 124 million Americans in 2010 still lived in areas where air pollution exceeded one or more federal standards.

For more on the impact of the Clean Air Act, check out our animated infographic. Make sure to click around and see all its components. Read “What Do Others Say?” for more views, then add to the discussion below. Is this a case of government regulation working right?