EDF Experts Testify About the Need for Stronger Health Protections from Smog

January 29, 2015
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(January 29, 2015) Experts from Environmental Defense Fund are joining hundreds  of Americans today to tell U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials that they strongly support better health protections from smog.

EPA is holding public hearings about its proposal to update our national air quality standards for ground-level ozone, which is more commonly known as smog. Two hearings are taking place today — in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Texas. 

“As EPA is well-aware, exposure to ozone can harm the respiratory system, aggravate asthma and other lung diseases, and is linked to early death from respiratory and cardiovascular causes,” said EDF Senior Health Scientist Elena Craft, who will testify at the Texas hearing. “As a scientist, and as a mom of an 8-month-old baby boy, I applaud EPA’s efforts in protecting public health. Setting the ozone standard to 60 parts per billion will help those of us in Texas and across the country breathe easier.”

In November, EPA proposed updating our national smog standards from their current level of 75 parts per billion to 65 to 70 parts per billion. EPA is also seeking comments on establishing a health standard of 60 parts per billion, and the scientific record shows that this level would provide the strongest public health protections for Americans. EDF recommends that EPA carry out its responsibility under our nation’s clean air laws to follow the science and adopt the health-based standards that will adequately protect all Americans from dangerous smog. 

“Here in the nation’s capital we face high levels of ozone. The most recent American Lung Association State of the Air Report gave D.C. an “F” grade on ozone,” said Mandy Warner, EDF Senior Manager for Climate and Air Policy, who will testify at the Washington, D.C. hearing. “EPA’s proposal to strengthen the current national, health-based standard for ozone to a range that is consistent with the recommendations of our nation’s leading scientists and public health and medical professionals is critical to protect the health of our children, families, and communities and to ensure that all Americans know whether the air they are breathing is safe.” 

EPA will hold a third hearing in Sacramento, California on Monday, and will accept online comments through March 17 (those who aren’t able to attend the hearing can send a comment through EDF’s website.). 

EPA is expected to issue a final decision by October of this year.

You can read Elena Craft’s full testimony here, and read Mandy Warner’s full testimony here

EDF also has more information about the smog standards on our website.

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