American Lung Association Disappointed with DC Circuit Court’s Ruling on Ozone Standards

U.S Appeals Court partially upholds ozone pollution rule

(July 23, 2013)

Today, a federal appeals court partially upheld U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations issued by former President George W. Bush's administration that set standards for ozone pollution. The American Lung Association has long supported the updating of the primary health standards to reflect current science.

“Air pollution threatens the health of millions of Americans. Our current ozone standards are outdated and the scientific community has reported that stricter regulations are needed in order to truly protect public health,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Ozone pollution makes people sick, exacerbates existing respiratory conditions or even creates new ones, and can send people to the hospital.”

Heat and sunlight mixed with the pollution from tailpipes, smokestacks and other sources create ozone. Ozone is the most widespread air pollutant and can cause health problems like wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks and even premature death.  Exposure to ozone pollution has been likened to “a sunburn on the lungs.” Ozone pollution has been linked to health problems that include decreased lung function.

“EPA standards for ozone must be updated so that they reflect scientific standards, not the politically-based standards that are currently in place,” said Ed Miller, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “While the quality of our air has been improving as a result of cleaner emissions over the years, the current standard is still inadequate to be most protective of public health and gives people a false sense of protection because it fails to identify all of the unhealthy air days that occur.”

“As more science has become available, it’s clear that people can get sick from breathing in ozone even at the levels we once thought were safe,” continued Miller. “We need a tighter primary health standard.”