U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Failing to Protect Our Air, Again


Photo credit: infinitewilderness

Ozone, a chemical that occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere, helps protect us from the sun's radiation. But, when it's released close to Earth's surface through human activity, ozone is dangerous and can cause numerous adverse health effects such as asthma and lung damage. The Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control pollution from ozone based solely on the best available science. Yet the EPA has announced a draft ozone pollution standard that falls short of what the agency's own scientists and science advisors consider safe.

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a draft ozone pollution standard that falls short of the level considered safe by EPA scientific experts. Furthermore, the proposal would allow the agency to avoid tightening the standard altogether, despite unanimous agreement from its own scientists and science advisors that the current standard is not safe. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set pollution standards for ozone based solely on the best available scientific information. According to EPA scientific documents, a 0.064 parts per million (ppm) standard would reduce ozone-related deaths by as much as 75 percent. The EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, a panel of independent experts who advise the EPA administrator on air pollution, has recommended the EPA tighten the ozone standard to a level between 0.06 and 0.07 ppm.

After reviewing 2,000 pages of science on the health effects of ozone, the committee unanimously concluded that there is no scientific justification for retaining the current ozone standard of 0.080 ppm. Yet in June, the EPA announced that it is seeking public comment on a draft ozone pollution standard that would establish an allowable limit of ozone somewhere between 0.06 ppm and the current standard of 0.08 ppm. With this proposal, the EPA reserves the right to leave the standard where it is today, putting the health of millions at risk.

The EPA is currently accepting comments on its proposal. You can take action and urge the EPA to use the best available science to set a stronger final ozone standard that protects our health.

Tags: EPA | Pollution