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CLEAN AIR GROUP GETS PHYSICIANS’ BACKING

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The Utah County Clean Air Coalition received a healthy dose of support this week from the Utah County Medical Association.

The medical association, which includes almost every practicing physician in the county, donated $1,000 to the coalition."We are for the health of our community, and we feel that clean air is a requisite for the health of our community," said Dr. Carl Bell, a family practice physician in American Fork and chairman of the association.

The association donated the money to the coalition because "they are the group that is behind the push" for clean air in Utah County, Bell said.

"They are spearheading the efforts to clean up the air no matter where the pollution is coming from and that is in all of our interests," Bell said.

Bell said local physicians have seen an increase in respiratory problems commensurate with the degree of air pollution found in Utah Valley. In particular, Bell said doctors have noted an increase in respiratory problems since the reopening of Geneva Steel, although the doctors do not believe the steel plant is the only source of health-threatening pollution.

"The philosophy of the Utah Medical Association is not to come down for or against industry or for or against any one special interest other than the cooperative effort to increase the quality of air," Bell said.

The association has asked that the coalition appoint a local physician to its board of directors.

Gary Bryner, a member of the Clean Air Coalition, said support from the physicians is important because it helps focus concern about air pollution on health issues.

"The Utah County Medical Association brings the experience and expertise of a great number of physicians in our county to focus attention on the relationship between high levels of air pollution and respiratory disease," Bryner said. "The physicians also have expertise in what we can do in the county to reduce health hazards from our polluted air."

Bryner said the coalition hopes to involve local physicians in joint proj-ects such as symposiums and public meetings.