- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
"The good news for 30 states is that they already meet the fine particle standards," said EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. "The good news for the remaining areas of the country is that we have new rules both proposed and in place to help these states make their air cleaner to breathe."
PM2.5 - approximately 1/30th the size of an average human hair - can aggravate heart and lung diseases and has been associated with a variety of serious health problems including heart attacks, chronic bronchitis and asthma attacks.
According to Leavitt, meeting these standards will prevent at least 15,000 premature deaths, 75,000 cases of chronic bronchitis, 10,000 hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular disease, hundreds of thousands of occurrences of aggravated asthma, and 3.1 million days when people miss work because they are suffering from symptoms related to particle pollution exposure.
States with non-attainment areas must submit plans by early 2008 that outline how they will meet the PM2.5 standards. They are expected to attain clean air as soon as possible and not later than 2010. The EPA can grant one five-year extension for areas with more severe problems. The attainment date for those areas would be 2015.