EPA to Review Standards for Ozone – a Dangerous Air Pollutant

(September 18, 2009)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will reconsider the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone, in response to a court challenge the American Lung Association filed on behalf of the breathing public. The standard is the official limit on the amount of dangerous ozone—or smog—that can be present in the air.

Ozone is the most widespread and one of the most dangerous air pollutants, so this is an important step in the fight for  healthier air for all Americans, Ozone worsens children's asthma, drives many to the hospital every year, and can even kill. EPA's decision means that they may tighten the limits on outdoor ozone by August 2010. 

The American Lung Association applauds EPA's decision and welcomes a formal review of the national air quality standard for ozone. EPA last set this national limit on ozone in the in 2008. We look forward to working with the EPA to arrive at a new standard in 2010 that provides real protection for millions of people who live where the air they breathe can not only make them sick, it can kill. 

Ozone science disregarded
The American Lung Association challenged EPA's 2008 decision in court. The Lung Association took this step after EPA disregarded the advice of its expert science advisors and the consensus of the health and medical community when it set this official national limit on the amount of ozone pollution that can be in the air. The amassed scientific evidence and the expert opinions of the scientists concluded that the standard needed to be much tighter to save lives and prevent other serious health effects.

Ozone threatens health
Ozone smog threatens the health of infants, children, seniors and people who have asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other lung diseases. For these people, breathing smog-polluted air can make them cough and wheeze, restrict their airways, worsen their diseases, force them to the hospital and even kill them. Even healthy young adults and people who exercise or work outdoors can suffer from high levels of ozone pollution. 

This announced review of the ozone standard is an important first step. We now call on EPA to set a standard that protects all of us from this dangerous pollutant.