American Lung Association Statement On Proposed New Particle Pollution Standards
If EPA adopts the standard as proposed, the Agency will have failed the most fundamental task required by the Clean Air Act-to protect public health from one of the major air pollutants. For the first time, EPA will have ignored recommendations from its own staff scientists and from its official outside review panel of scientists; both groups have advised setting a stronger standard than EPA has proposed.
EPA's responsibility under the law is to determine how much particle pollution is safe to breathe. To do so, EPA reviews the research and sets a limit on air pollution-a standard-that communities must meet to protect the health of their residents. This proposal is two years overdue. The Agency had seven years to review more than 2,000 studies showing that particle pollution, called particulate matter or PM, threatens the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year.
During the review process, these studies were analyzed by EPA staff scientists and by an independent panel of academic and industry researchers. Based on the overwhelming evidence of the death and disease demonstrated in these studies, it was clear to the American Lung Association, to EPA's own staff scientists and to the independent scientific review panel that much tighter limits were needed.
The American Lung Association and many medical societies and public health groups have repeatedly urged EPA to follow the science and set tough new standards. Our colleagues in the health and medical community, including the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Thoracic Society, and the American College of Cardiology joined us in recommending that EPA select the most protective levels of the standard analyzed. Most recently, 104 leading air pollution researchers and physicians sent a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, also recommending the most protective levels.
Unfortunately EPA has ignored this advice and proposed a standard that will not adequately protect the public. To date, 2,000-plus studies have shown how far the current standards are from protecting public health. EPA set those standards in 1997 when we knew so much less than we do now about the health impact of particle pollution. We now know better. There is no excuse to set the new standards at levels that still do not meet the basic legal requirement outlined in the Clean Air Act-to protect the lives and health of the public.
The EPA proposal misses the opportunity do what is necessary to prevent disease and death. During the coming public comment period, we will wage a vigorous campaign to urge EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to follow sound science and strengthen this proposal to truly protect public health.
About the American Lung Association
Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is ?Improving life, one breath at a time.?
For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to http://www.lungusa.org.
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