American Lung Association Urges EPA to Heed Letter on Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard in Order to Protect Public Health

Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2014)

The American Lung Association welcomed the latest letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from EPA’s independent science advisory committee, which confirms that the current ozone national air quality standard fails to protect public health as required by law and should be significantly strengthened.

The letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy came from the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), a group of scientists, physicians, researchers and air pollution experts who have been reviewing hundreds of studies and analyses of the health effects of ozone for several years.

Statement from Janice Nolen, Assistant Vice President, National Policy for the American Lung Association:

“These independent experts recommended to EPA that a level of 60 parts per billion (ppb) would protect public health and would clearly meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act to provide an adequate margin of safety. The Lung Association calls on EPA to heed their advice and propose a standard of 60 ppb to provide the required protection from dangerous and potentially deadly ozone.

“The Clean Air Act requires that every five years EPA complete a thorough review of the science with the advice from these experts to ensure that these critical public health safeguards are kept up to date and based on the most current research.

“Ozone is the most widespread air pollutant and is known to cause coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks and increases the risk of hospital admissions and emergency room visits, as well as the risk of premature death.  New evidence links ozone to a broad array of other health threats as well, including cardiovascular harm, low birth weight in newborns and loss in short-term memory.  Children, teenagers, seniors, people with lung diseases such as asthma, and people with cardiovascular disease are especially at risk from the harms of ozone pollution.  Even healthy adults who work and exercise outdoors face greater risk from ozone pollution. 

“The CASAC has told EPA multiple times before that the current standard of 75 ppb failed to protect public health. The Lung Association hopes that this time the EPA will follow the recommendations from CASAC, unlike in the previous formal review that ended in 2006 and the reconsideration of the standard that ended in 2011.”    

CASAC comprises a part of the transparent and evidence-based deliberative process established in the Clean Air Act to establish a standard that protects public health.   

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About the American Lung Association
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.