Help Us Tell EPA We Want Cleaner, Healthier Air

Will 2010 be the year when we take a quantum leap towards healthier air?  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to lower the nation's official limit on the amount of ozone considered safe to breathe, called the national ambient air quality standard.  Ozone, often known as smog, is one of the most dangerous gases polluting our communities—and the most widespread.  The American Lung Association has fought hard to get EPA to provide better protection from ozone. Now is the time to tell them that we need less smog in the U.S. 

EPA has three public hearings set in early February to take comments on the need for a stronger ozone standard.  In addition, you can send comments to EPA directly.  The deadline for all comments is March 22, 2010. EPA will announce their decision on the standard by August 31, 2010.  For more information on the hearings, click here

How to comment

Ozone – A Public Health Threat
The Lung Association urged EPA to provide more protection from ozone with a stronger national air quality standard.  Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that our nation needs a stronger ozone standard to protect your health.

Ozone is an extremely reactive gas molecule that is created when compounds in emissions from cars, trucks and various industrial smokestacks react with sunlight. It is the primary ingredient of smog air pollution and is very harmful to breathe.

Ozone burns the airways and lungs, causing inflammation. For healthy people, this inflammation can cause difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing and chest pain. People with respiratory problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as those with heart disease are at greater risk.  Exposure to too much ozone can mean a trip to the hospital and can even be life threatening.

EPA Must Protect Millions
Nearly two years ago, EPA ignored the recommendations of their own scientists and selected a standard for ozone that was too weak—allowing far more pollution than compelling research said was safe. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set the health-based national air quality standard to protect the millions of people who live where ozone smog sends children to the emergency room and shortens the lives of people with chronic lung disease. 

When the EPA failed to set the standard where it will protect public health the Lung Association and our colleagues immediately took legal action to require EPA to reconsider their decision. As a result, EPA has agreed to take another look.  The EPA's own independent science advisors had repeatedly emphasized the need for a stronger standard than the one adopted in 2008.  EPA has now proposed the range that their advisors had long recommended. 

  • More information on Ozone
  • More information on the Proposed Standard
  • American Lung Association Statement on the EPA's Proposal
  • New York Times Story on EPA's Announcement

You can make the case for cleaner air. Tell EPA what you think. Here's how to comment:

Speak at the Public Hearing in February

Three public hearing are scheduled. All last from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30p.m. with a break from  12:30 to 2 for lunch. You will only be able to speak for 5 minutes, but you can leave behind longer, written comments. Email Tricia Crabtree to sign up to speak:  crabtree.tricia@epa.gov or telephone (919-541-5688).

  • February 2 in Arlington, Virginia.  Location: Hyatt Regency Crystal City @ Reagan National Airport Washington Room (located on the Ballroom Level), 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia  22202. Telephone: 703-418-1234. Click here for Information and talking points for the Arlington Hearing.
  • February 2 in Houston, Texas. Location:  Hilton Houston Hobby Airport Moody Ballroom (located on the ground floor) 8181 Airport Boulevard, Houston, Texas  77061, Telephone: 713-645-3000. Click here for Information and talking points for the Houston Hearing.
  • February 4 in Sacramento, California. Location:  Four Points by Sheraton Sacramento International Airport, Natomas Ballroom, 4900 Duckhorn Drive, Sacramento, California  95834. Telephone: 916-263-9000. Click here for Information and talking points for the Sacramento Hearing.

Send in written comments by March 22

  • Email comments to: a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov 
    Be sure to put "Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2005 -0172" in the subject line.  Deadline for all comments is March 22, 2010.
  • Or mail comments to:
    Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2005 -0172
    Environmental Protection Agency
    Mail code 6102T
    1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460
  • Additional information is available at:  http://www.epa.gov/air/ozonepollution/actions.html#jan10s.