American Lung Association in Colorado Responds to Ozone Standard Update
(October 1, 2015) - DENVER, CO
Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced updated National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, a life-threatening air pollutant. Based on extensive scientific evidence about ozone’s effects on public health and welfare, EPA has strengthened the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from 75 ppb. The updated standards will improve public health protection, particularly for at risk groups including children, older adults, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma. Once met, the standard will prevent 230,000 childhood asthma attacks and 160,000 missed days of school prevented
“For far too long, our nation has been living with an outdated standard that has left millions of Americans, including Colorado residents, in harm’s way, breathing unsafe levels of ozone pollution. This new standard is a step in the right direction and offers significantly greater protection than the old standard,” said Tyler Svitak, Director of Air Quality and Transportation with the American Lung Association in Colorado.
Ozone irritates and inflames the lungs and the respiratory system. Scientists, physicians and the health community at large have long recognized ozone’s potential to cause premature death. Unsafe levels of ozone can cause difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing and asthma attacks, and can result in trips to the emergency room and admissions to the hospital. Ground level ozone is the nation’s most widespread air pollutant and a primary component of smog.
“The updated ozone standard will move us closer toward cleaner, healthier air for all. Given the known health effects of breathing unsafe levels of ozone pollution, greater health protections are needed. The people of Colorado have a fundamental right, under the Clean Air Act, to have a standard that protects their health. We will continue to advocate for a more protective standard based on the evidence of what is needed to protect human health,” said Tyler Svitak.
“Everyone deserves protection from ozone pollution, especially those who are most at risk of being harmed by ozone, including the 135,000 children with asthma and thousands of adults living with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Colorado as well as people with low incomes and those who work or play outside,” said Michael Volz, MD, allergy and asthma specialist.
“The Lung Association in Colorado looks forward to the benefits to the health of [state residents] that steps to meet the updated standard will bring. We urge Colorado’s elected officials to defend the Clean Air Act against any attacks that would block, weaken or delay these benefits,” said Curt Huber, Executive Director with the American Lung Association in Colorado. “Colorado communities deserve nothing less.”
CONTACT: | American Lung Association in Colorado
P: 303-388-4327 E:COInfo@Lungs.org
About the American Lung Association in Colorado
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: www.Lung.org