Americans Enjoy Major Benefits from Public Health, Safety, Environmental Protections, New Study Finds

-For Immediate Release-
July 30, 2014

Contact: Brian Gumm,, 202-683-4812

Americans Enjoy Major Benefits from Public Health, Safety, Environmental Protections,
New Study Finds

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2014—A new study released today by the Center for Effective Government adds to an expanding body of evidence demonstrating that public health, safety, and environmental protections provide significant, important benefits to the American people. These standards improve our nation's quality of life and public confidence in American products and businesses.

"Whether it's a clean air rule, a vehicle safety standard, or a rule that could prevent another coal ash disaster like we saw earlier this year in North Carolina, public protections deliver essential benefits to all Americans," said Katherine McFate, president and CEO of the Center for Effective Government. "Our analysis discredits the misleading, anti-regulatory rhetoric of the right."

The study, The Benefits of Public Protections: Ten Rules That Save Lives and Protect the Environment, analyzed ten proposed or adopted federal standards from agencies as diverse as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Combined these ten rules:

  • Save 10,000 American lives annually
  • Prevent 300,000 cases of disease, illness, and injury every year
  • Create net economic benefits of between $46 billion to $122 billion each year

"Of course, not all regulatory benefits can be converted into dollars and cents," said Ronald White, director of regulatory policy at the Center. "Even if we ignore the ethical concerns of putting a price on the value of a life saved or an avoided disabling disease, it’s important to recognize that these rules provide numerous important public health, safety, and environmental benefits that aren't included in agency economic calculations."

White continued, "Rulemaking is our democracy's way of balancing the interests of the public's safety and well-being with the profit-focused goals of the private sector. It's about ensuring that we all breathe clean air, drink clean water, eat safe food, travel in safety, and earn our livings in safe workplaces."

"In the end, it's about defending and improving American living standards," White concluded.

The study is available online at

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The Center for Effective Government is dedicated to building an open, accountable government that advances the priorities defined by an informed citizenry. Find the Center for Effective Government on Facebook and Twitter.

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