Wednesday, July 26, 2006

EPA career staff: agency should consider a tougher smog standard

EPA’s career staff argued today that the current national standard for smog may not be adequate to protect public health – particularly the health of kids with asthma.

This EPA assessment confirms that smog is a serious public health problem. It confirms that we need to make further reductions in smog to protect kids with asthma and other vulnerable groups.

The key material is in chapter 6 at this link:

The EPA “staff paper” notes that adverse health effects have been found when people are breathing air at today’s legally acceptable levels.

The money line in the smog assessment: “staff concludes that consideration might primarily focus on an O3 level of 0.07 ppm,
with a range of forms from the third- through fifth-highest daily maximum 8-hr
average concentration.” [the current standard is 0.08] --from page 6-44

Health and environmental groups are likely to press for even tougher standards.

The California state standard is 0.07, though – unlike the federal standard – it does not permit several dirty-air days a year. The World Health Organization has recommended guidelines of 0.05.

EPA is under a court order to propose a decision on this matter by March 2007, and to make a final decision by December 2007.

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