EDF toxicologist: EPA must protect our communities and our children from ground-level ozone pollution

October 8, 2014
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – October 8, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has submitted a draft of its proposal for an updated national health-based standard for ground-level ozone pollution, commonly known as smog, to the Office of Management and Budget.

EPA, which is under a court-ordered deadline to propose an updated ground-level ozone standard by December 1st, submitted its draft this evening. 

“Smog is linked to asthma attacks, other serious heart and lung diseases, and premature death. It is EPA’s bedrock responsibility to issue a protective ozone air quality standard that will safeguard public health, including protecting the children afflicted by smog across our nation,” said Dr. Elena Craft, EDF Health Scientist. 

EPA finalized the current national ground-level ozone standards in 2008 at 75 parts per billion – which contradicted unanimous advice from the statutorily-established Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and from the nation’s leading medical societies.  

A new technical analysis released last month by EPA staff recommended tightening the national standard for ground-level ozone to a health protective standard that ranges between 60 to 70 parts per billion. An independent panel of scientists made a similar recommendation to EPA earlier this year.

According to a 2010 analysis by EPA, a standard of 60 parts per billion would, when met:

    • Prevent up to 12,000 premature deaths
    • Prevent up to 21,000 hospitalizations
    • Provide $100 billion in associated economic benefits

EPA is under a court deadline of December 1st to propose an updated national ozone standard that protects the health of America’s communities and families and to issue a final standard by October 2015.  EDF, together with public health and environmental associations such as Earthjustice, has taken legal action to compel EPA to carry out these responsibilities under our nation’s clean air laws. 

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