Washington, D.C., October 1, 2015 – The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) is pleased that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will finalize an update to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ground-level Ozone. The following is a statement by Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH.
“Today the EPA and Obama Administration announced they will finalize a long overdue update to the ground-level ozone standard. TFAH commends EPA for meeting the latest deadline and finalizing a ground-level ozone standard of 70 parts-per-billion (ppb)—far more in line with the current scientific evidence and an important improvement over the flawed 2008 standard.
However, as we have made clear in public statements to EPA, TFAH strongly believes that a standard of 60 ppb would best meet the expectations of the Clean Air Act and would give our nation’s families an ozone standard that protects their health.
EPA’s own science is clear that even healthy adults can experience adverse health effects from ozone at 65 ppb. And, research has told us for years that elevated levels of smog can cause asthma attacks, shortness of breath, trips to the emergency room and even premature death. Now, we are beginning to see research link low birth weight babies, negative neurological effects, and many additional health hazards to ozone.
At a time when obesity levels are stabilizing at an unspeakably high level and we are encouraging more and more Americans to be active, we aren’t providing clean air to breathe. In reality, the Americans—young children, the elderly, and those who already suffer from certain chronic diseases—who are most likely to benefit from being active outdoors are unfortunately those who are most vulnerable to the dangers of dirty air and ground-level ozone.
Improving the standard to 70 ppb is undoubtedly progress towards cleaner air and a healthier nation – however it also represents a missed opportunity for EPA to act on the best available science and truly protect the public’s health.”
Trust for America’s Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority.