Thursday, April 05, 2007

100+ air researchers, docs to EPA: the scientific need for much tougher smog standards is overwhelming

More than 100 distinguished air pollution researchers and physicians are recommending that the U.S. EPA set much tougher new health standards for ground-level ozone, or smog.

These experts are echoing the call of EPA’s independent science advisers, who recently urged the agency to drop the current standard (85 parts per billion) down to between 60 and 70.

“The National Ambient Air Quality Standards must accurately reflect the state of the science and fulfill the Clean Air Act's mandate of protecting the public health, including those most vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, with an adequate margin of safety,” the experts note.

Referring to the recent call by EPA’s advisers, these experts added that “Such strongly worded consensus statements are unusual for this panel of scientists, which is deliberately selected to represent a variety of viewpoints. These unambiguous, unanimous recommendations to your office reflect the strong body of scientific literature indicating significant harm to adults and children from exposures to ozone at and below the current standard.”

EPA’s Johnson is under a court order to propose a standard by June. He is expected to come under strong political pressure against a major change in the standard because of the strong opposition by coal, oil, auto, electric power and other industries.

The full letter is at

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