- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
“Our nation's air is the cleanest it has been in over a generation and today's proposal begins our next step in the steady march toward cleaner air and healthier lives by addressing particle pollution,” said EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. “Armed with the Bush Administration's innovative clean air policies and the best available science, we will continue to improve air quality and public health.”
Many studies have shown a correlation between PM and a variety of respiratory and cardiovascular problems, ranging from aggravated asthma to irregular heartbeats and even early death in people with heart or lung disease.
The proposed revisions include significantly tightening the EPA's short-term exposure to high levels of fine PM by nearly 50 percent. The agency is also seeking comments on a range of annual and 24-hour standards. Additionally, they are proposing reducing the inhalable PM 24-hour standard to 70 micrograms per cubic meter. This would apply to such sources as high-density traffic on paved roads and industry. Some mixes of PM that do not pose high public risk, such as windblown dust and solids and agricultural and mining sources, would not be included.
The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to periodically review air quality standards to ensure they provide adequate health and environmental protection, and to update those standards if necessary. The agency last updated the particle standards in 1997. This proposed rule covers only the air quality standards for particle pollution. It does not address all of the issues involved in implementing a new standard, such as designating what areas are or are not attaining any new standard, and determining the best and most cost-effective implementation strategies.
For more information, visit www.epa.gov/air/particles/actions.html and www.epa.gov/air/particles.