EPA Chooses Not to Strengthen Ozone Pollution Limits, Deprioritizing Health and Science

In response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule to maintain the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone pollution, American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer issued the following statement:  
 
“For the third time in three weeks, EPA’s leadership finalized a rule that will put Americans’ health at greater risk from air pollution: this time, by failing to update outdated limits on ozone. For decades, the American Lung Association has called for a more protective standard that reflects the science.  In this review we support strengthening the standard to no higher than 60 ppb to protect health and save lives.

“Ground-level ozone is a deadly, widespread pollutant, and the latest science and fact-based information clearly shows that a stronger ozone pollution standard is needed to adequately protect health and save lives. The final rule announced today ignored that science. What’s more, this final rule is especially harmful for groups that are at a higher risk of health harms from breathing ozone pollution – including children, older adults, pregnant women, underserved communities of color, and people who work outdoors.  

“By finalizing this rule at levels the science says are not safe, EPA is yet again failing to prioritize the health of Americans, or the latest and best science. The ozone rule is also the latest from EPA to ignore the law by taking effect upon publication, as did those finalized earlier this month to maintain the current, inadequate particulate matter limits and to allow the agency to ignore the full health benefits of pollution protections, such as lives saved and asthma attacks and heart attacks avoided. 

“We call on President-elect Joe Biden to put a high priority on significantly strengthening the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for both ozone pollution and particulate matter. The new administration will have an urgent obligation to restore sound science as the foundation of policymaking, and the science is very clear that both ozone pollution and particle pollution make people sick and cause premature death at levels the Trump administration claims are safe.” 

To schedule a media interview with a policy or health expert on air quality protections and the harms of air pollution, contact Allison MacMunn at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.
 

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