Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2012 — The American Public Health Association hailed a final rule expected today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will protect the health of all Americans by curbing harmful emissions of fine particulate matter, also known as soot.
The new rule lowers the limit of current annual exposure standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter down to a standard of 12.
“The public health community applauds these long overdue stronger standards,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. “Science clearly links exposure to fine particulate matter to premature death, increased hospitalization and worsening of a range of health conditions, including heart attack, stroke and asthma.
“This rule protects communities across the country from dirty, harmful air. It’s a public health victory for everyone, but particularly for children, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions who are at increased risk.
“Particulate matter is one of the most dangerous air pollutants. Curbing emissions will not only dramatically reduce the burden of disease but also save medical costs. On a number of fronts, this will help us all breathe much more safely and easily.”