What We Do

The American Lung Association has led the fight for healthy air for more than 20 years. Our primary weapon is advocacy. We work to influence public policy and ensure enforcement of laws that help us clean up our air. Whether in the courtroom or on Capitol Hill, we constantly work to make the air we all share cleaner and healthier.

» Working for healthy air today
» Milestone victories

Working for healthy air today

Polluters and some members of Congress want weaken, delay, or undermine the Clean Air Act and the protective standards the law requires. We fight hard to prevent that. Here’s how:

  • We’ve mobilized Lung Association staff and volunteers from across the country to Capitol Hill, for scores of one-on-one meetings with lawmakers, to remind them that our nation’s health – and particularly that of our children – depends on air quality laws that truly protect our health.
  • We conducted public polls that showed that voters support clean air and want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, not Congress, to set and enforce clean air standards.
  • We collected stories of kids like Jake who struggled with asthma to explain to Congress why healthy air matters. We’d welcome your story, too.
  • We launched a series of hard-hitting Red Carriage ads and Secondhand Smog PSA to explain the issues widely.

Milestone victories

We have fought the changes that would have weakened our nation’s ability to require them to clean up their dangerous emissions.

In 2011 alone, we achieved a number of key victories that will result in less pollution, better health, and thousands of lives saved each year. But we are still fighting for all of these standards to be put in place.

  • In July we celebrated EPA’s announcement of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule which will save lives by limiting the spread of dangerous pollutants across state lines.
  • In December, EPA announced standards to clean up mercury, arsenic, dioxins and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil- fired power plants, another key Lung Association priority. We had issued a report on that problem, Toxic Air.

We’ve also had to take the federal government to court. We filed legal actions to force the EPA to tighten the clean air standards that set official limits on how much ozone and the particle pollution can be in the air we breathe.

You can see more of the important milestones in our fight for healthy air here.


Thanks to the commitment of a generation of Lung Association volunteers and staff, we have made real progress in cleaning up our air. Those successes are great milestones in our history, but we can’t stop. America still has a long way to go before all of us are breathing healthy air. Effective advocacy depends on people passionate about change. You can join our fight today.

FACT: Air pollution is a serious health threat. It sends people to the hospital, shapes how kids’ lungs develop, and can even be deadly.

Help us Fight For Air! | See more facts »