Doctor Speaks Out About Energy Preemption Bills in Florida
April 1, 2021 - Dr. Ronald Saff, MD, allergy and asthma specialist in Florida' Capital City, sends an open letter to the Florida Legislature informing them of the health risks of banning 100% clean energy initiatives.
An Open Letter to the Florida Legislature on the Health Risks of SB 1128/HB 919
On SB 1128/ HB 919 : Preemption Over Restriction of Utility Services
I am a physician and asthma specialist in Tallahassee . I oppose SB 1128/HB 919.
We need clean air and local governments should have the right to decide to have clean energy. Please understand that to have a healthy population, there needs to be clean air and clean energy. Air pollution shortens the life of the average person worldwide by almost 3 years. Also, air pollution causes more deaths than the total deaths from wars, malaria, AIDS and smoking combined. Overall our air quality in Tallahassee is good on most days; and when most people think of polluted air they think of China or Pakistan. However, Tallahassee has experienced spikes of air pollution that are among the highest worldwide and certainly far worse than in many cities in China. Tallahassee and ten other cities in FL have made a commitment to clean air, and this will help ensure the health of their citizens.
Air pollution is costly because it devastates our health. Air pollution costs this country approximately $886 billion a year. We all are at risk but particularly the very young, the elderly, the very ill and those with diabetes are at increased risk. Both air pollution and smoking are preventable, but much less attention has been paid to air pollution than to smoking.
There is also an increase in the amount of heart and asthma attacks on high pollution days, as well as strokes. In fact, the World Health Organization has called air pollution the" silent killer". Air pollution stunts lung growth in children. There is no catch-up growth in adulthood and at a certain point, everybody's lungs start to decline. Because of the early stunted growth, there is an increased mortality later on in life. There are approximately 4,000 children in Leon County with asthma that are at high risk, and I care for a good number of them. I don't want them harmed and I want to protect them. Air pollution is linked to numerous cancers including lung, bladder, and gut. It also causes an increase in cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Even skin and bones are affected with skin aging and bones becoming brittle from toxic air. Perhaps the most disturbing impact of toxic air is the damage to the reproductive system. Fertility is reduced and miscarriages are increased.
There is no safe level of pollution for some. So, for instance, an elderly person with significant heart disease and lung disease can be exposed to just a little bit of air pollution and that could be enough to send that person to the hospital or kill them. The very young are also at high risk. In Leon county we have 20,000 residents with cardiovascular disease placing them at risk.
We also know that those living in poverty receive the brunt of air pollution's deadly impacts. We have approximately 57,000 people in Leon county living in poverty. Many of them are my patients. With clean energy comes clean air. Please vote no on SB 1128/HB 919. Keep Florida clean and healthy.
Dr. Ronald Saff, MD
Dr. Ron Saff, MD (he/him/his) is a board member of the non-profit organization Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida. He is also Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Florida State University College of Medicine. He has won numerous American Lung Association Awards since he started practicing in 1994.
Please join Dr. Saff and his peers at Physicians for Social Responsibility of Florida in urging the Florida Legislature to vote no on SB 1128/HB 919. Send an email to the House Commerce and Senate Rules committee today!