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For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact APHA Communications at 202-777-2509 or email us .

APHA Urges EPA to Adopt Stronger Smog Standards to Protect Public Health

Washington, D.C., March 26, 2010 — The American Public Health Association this week petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt stronger, more protective standards to safeguard the health of the public from ground-level ozone.

 

In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, APHA and 17 other public health organizations applauded EPA’s decision earlier this year to reconsider the standards it set in 2008. The groups urged EPA to go farther and set standards that provide widespread protection to the health of millions of people, especially those most at risk.

 

Ground-level ozone, a primary component of smog, is produced by motor vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions, gas vapors and other sources, and can form in harmful concentrations in the air, particularly on hot, sunny days. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone and other pollutants. The current standard is set at 75 parts per billion; APHA and its cosigners are urging a standard of 60 parts per billion.

 

According to the groups, science supports a stronger standard. “Clinical and epidemiological studies have shown that breathing ozone can cause adverse health effects at concentrations lower than the 75 parts per billion 8-hour average standard,” the groups wrote. Exposure can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular health effects, increase mortality and adversely affect sensitive groups, including those with asthma, seniors and outdoor workers. Children are particularly vulnerable.

 

The groups said, “Given the weight of evidence, we urge you to set the eight-hour ozone standard at 60 parts per billion to protect against known and anticipated adverse health effects and to provide a margin of safety as required by the Clean Air Act.”

 

To read the letter, visit http://www.apha.org/NR/rdonlyres/B70FDD02-67DC-411F-A524-0743D4AF4598/0/OrganizationalSignonforOzoneNAAQS32210.pdf. To view EPA’s proposed revisions to the standards, visit www.epa.gov/air/ozonepollution/actions.html#jan10s.

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.