EPA updates standards to reduce levels of deadly soot pollution in our air

December 14, 2012
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org
Elena Craft, 512-691-3452, ecraft@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – December 14, 2012) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today unveils its updated standards for a particularly dangerous, and often deadly, type of air pollution — fine particle pollution, better known as soot.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) praised EPA for the move, which will help secure healthy air for millions of Americans.

“EPA’s new health standards to protect Americans from soot pollution are a perfect holiday gift,” said EDF President Fred Krupp. “This is a big step towards cleaner, healthier air for all of us.”

The new annual standard will be 12 micrograms per cubic meter. That standard will save thousands of lives threatened by soot-related health problems, and will help protect the one in 11 children in the U.S. who have asthma. 

Soot is one of the deadliest forms of air pollution. It’s known to cause or exacerbate heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks, and bronchitis, and it’s a risk factor for diabetes. People with those underlying health problems, children, and the elderly face a higher risk from soot pollution.  

“Almost half of all Americans — our mothers, our brothers, our uncles, our kids — are considered to be especially vulnerable to the harmful impacts of soot,” said Elena Craft, Health Scientist for EDF. “EPA’s new standards will help protect them, and all of us. Now Americans must work together to put in place the smart solutions that will reduce soot levels in our air.” 

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