Two groups representing doctors and nurses in the state are calling on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to toughen the standards it uses when issuing draft air permits for the construction of coal-fired power plants.
The Iowa chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Iowa Nurses Association have sent a letter to the D.N.R. saying the agency is not doing enough to protect the public from fine particulate air pollution. The advocacy groups say the standards now used by the D.N.R. don’t comply with the federal Clean Air Act and fail to protect public health.
Retired nurse Patricia Fuller of Council Bluffs says she knows first-hand what breathing polluted air can do. "As a former oncology nurse, I’ve certainly seen some of the hardships of lung cancer and that type of thing, and asthma and respiratory disease," Fuller said. She says breathing in small particles of soot can be extremely harmful.
"I’ve been concerned about the effects on people who have existing cardio-vascular disease, lung disease, small children, people with emphysema. It’s been shown to exacerbate all of these conditions," Fuller said. The construction of two coal-fired power plants are under consideration in the state – an Iowa Power and Light plant in Marshalltown and an L-S Power plant in Waterloo.