Stronger Particulate Standards Needed
The EPA announced today that it would not strengthen annual limits on fine particulate pollution, or particulates that are 2.5 microns in diameter or less—1/28 the size of a human hair. The EPA retained an annual standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter, despite recommendations from its own Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee that the standard be as low as 12 micrograms per cubic meter to adequately protect health and save lives.
“The EPA has sadly turned its back on the health of our families and children,” said Jeremy Nichols, Director of Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action. “For many, this really is a matter of life and death. Sadly, the EPA chose death.”
If, as scientists recommended, the annual standard was set at 12 micrograms per cubic meter, the
The EPA also made only meager changes to daily fine particle limits, lowering the standard from 50 to 35 micrograms per meters cubed.
Particulate matter remains a threat to public health. Those most at risk are members of all of our families: children; seniors; those with asthma, with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other lung diseases; those with stroke and heart diseases; and those with diabetes. They face increased risk of dying early, having severe asthma attacks, heart attacks, stroke, and lung cancer as a result of particulate pollution.
“While improvements are better than nothing, EPA’s modest revisions cannot be justified,” said Nichols. “With our children’s future at stake, we can’t settle on a middle ground.”