EPA Proposes Cleaner Air
We recently ran a ThirdAge Exclusive called "Air Pollution Bad for Seniors" and based on research done at Harvard. Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in response to a federal court ruling, has proposed updates to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution, including soot.
A release from the agency says: "These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and have been linked to a wide range of serious health effects, including premature death, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children."
The EPA’s statement reports that the new proposal would strengthen the annual health standard for harmful fine particle pollution, known as PM2.5, to a level within a range of 13 micrograms per cubic meter to 12 micrograms per cubic meter. The current annual standard is 15 micrograms per cubic meter. The proposed changes are based on an extensive body of scientific evidence that includes thousands of studies – including many large studies, which show negative health impacts at lower levels than previously understood.
The EPA will accept public comment for 63 days after the proposed standards are published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold two public hearings; one in Sacramento, CA. and one in Philadelphia, PA. Details on the hearings will be announced shortly. EPA will issue the final standards by December 14, 2012.