Summer-time smog could be a killer.
That’s one of the conclusions of a new compendium of scientific information on smog (technically ozone) that EPA quietly posted to the internet last evening.
http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=149923 See volume I, pages E-17 and 18.
This is a very significant finding and suggests that the EPA should set a tougher national air pollution standard for smog in order to protect people’s health.
The compendium, known technically as a “Criteria Document,” also notes that smog sends children with asthma to hospital emergency rooms, restricts our ability to breathe and causes other bad health effects.
EPA is under a court order to decide by late 2007 whether to revise the current national standard, which was last revised in 1997.
We are concerned that big polluters – the oil, coal, electric power, automobile and chemical industries – will pressure the agency to make a decision based on economics and politics, rather than science.
As you know, the EPA is wrestling with a similar issue as it considers revisions to the national air quality standard for fine particle soot. In that case, the agency – we believe in response to political pressure – has proposed something weaker than recommended by EPA’s own science advisors.
The new EPA findings were bolstered by a recent study, published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, http://www.ehponline.org/members/2006/8816/8816.pdf
which also linked low levels of smog exposure to increased death rates.