Issue Date: April 4, 2011
EPA Advisers Seek Stricter Ozone Limit
An EPA advisory panel is urging the agency to lower the nationwide limit on ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, to somewhere between 60 and 70 ppb. In 2008, the Bush Administration lowered the standard from 84 to 75 ppb. In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, the members of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee say they have determined that “the evidence from controlled human and epidemiological studies strongly supports the selection of a new primary ozone standard within the 60–70 ppb range for an 8-hour averaging time.” EPA has said it plans to issue a revised standard in July that is within the range the scientific panel has recommended. Industry groups contend that the most recent research does not justify setting a more stringent ozone standard. But the advisory group says studies have found that some healthy adults experience breathing problems when exposed to ozone even at concentrations as low as 60 ppb. EPA’s projections indicate that most areas of the U.S. with air pollution monitors would fail to meet a tighter ozone standard, creating another regulatory hurdle for industrial facilities.
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