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American Public Health Association applauds EPA proposal to decrease ozone’s harmful impacts
Washington, D.C., Nov. 26, 2014 — The American Public Health Association welcomes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to strengthen national air quality standards for ozone pollution, which will provide Americans with much-needed protection from ozone pollution’s dangerous health impacts.
The latest National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone pollution, brought forth today under the Clean Air Act, will reduce the acceptable limits of ground-level ozone pollution to levels that are safer and more protective not only for healthy adults, but also for vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly and individuals living with lung and heart disease. The new proposed standards would drop the acceptable ground-level of ozone to a level in the range of 65-70 parts per billion, down from EPA’s current standard of 75 parts per billion. EPA will also accept comments on a level as low as 60 parts per billion, the level recommended by APHA and other public health advocates based on the most recent science.
“While EPA’s proposal does not include the stronger public health protections of 60 parts per billion this is a step toward improving health for all, especially for the millions who need protection the most,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD. “For children, seniors, people with lung or cardiovascular conditions and even healthy adults who work or exercise outdoors, these improved air quality standards will reduce premature deaths, hospital admissions and emergency department visits.”
Ozone, or smog, is the nation’s most widespread air pollutant and poses numerous health and safety threats, including worsened rates of asthma, heart disease and stroke.
“On behalf of APHA, we applaud EPA for strengthening protections for the public’s health by reducing ozone’s deadly, costly impacts on our nation’s communities and we look forward to working with President Obama, the agency and other public health advocates to ensure the strongest possible rule is adopted," Benjamin added.
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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.