Dear Friend,

Among the U.S.’s ten largest cities, Philadelphia has the highest cancer rate by far. Philadelphia’s Air Management Services (AMS) is currently updating its permitting requirements for industrial facilities that emit toxic air pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers air toxics, “pollutants that cause or may cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental and ecological effects.” 

You can sign up to testify at the August 10 public hearing here

Clean Air Council strongly supports AMS’ decision to better regulate toxic air pollution and reduce cancer risks from pollution emitted by large industrial facilities in Philadelphia.

The regulations must be strengthened to truly ensure they achieve meaningful health protections for Philadelphians. Making simple but important changes consistent with the current science will make a real difference in preventing cancer, birth defects, and other serious health impacts from toxic air pollution in our city - especially in neighborhoods already overburdened by industrial pollution.

AMS should also lower the health hazard benchmark used to decide when to require a risk mitigation plan or to deny a permit. AMS should require a risk mitigation plan when the combined cancer risk of a proposed facility is 10-in-1 million or more. AMS should deny a permit when the combined cancer risk of a proposal is 25-in-1 million or more.

AMS should require an assessment of the cumulative impacts on human health of multiple air toxics from a facility. It is not adequate to individually consider the impact of each known carcinogen emitted by a facility. It would be more protective to aggregate the total carcinogenic pollutants emitted by a facility to establish the total cancer risk. 

AMS also needs to ensure that Philadelphia residents will be able to get information about and have input on the risk assessment and mitigation planning process for a facility that affects their neighborhood and community. And the agency should commit to review and strengthen the rule as scientific updates occur, at least every five years.

AMS needs to hear from you to decide whether or not they will strengthen the rule. Please sign up to speak at the hearing to share your concerns and your views on why AMS should strengthen this rule. Let’s make sure another generation of Philadelphia kids do not grow up without vital protections from toxic air pollution.

Please reach out to us if you want further information about the proposed change to the rule or the Council’s recommendations. 

Sign up to testify at the August 10th public hearing!


Joseph Otis Minott, Esq.
Executive Director and Chief Counsel



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