The Environmental Protection Agency is delaying plans to tighten air quality standards for smog despite a recommendation by a scientific advisory panel to lower air pollution limits to protect public health, reports Matthew Daly for the Associated Press.
In a nutshell:
EPA Administrator Michael Regan's decision initiates a new statutory review of the ozone standard, which will last at least two years, with the aim of aligning air quality standards with the latest scientific findings. This delay, the second in 12 years under a Democratic administration, avoids potential political battles but has been criticized by environmental and public health advocates who emphasize the disproportionate impact of ground-level ozone on minority communities.
Paul Billings, senior vice president of the American Lung Association, called the EPA’s decision “profoundly disappointing” and a missed opportunity to protect public health and promote environmental justice.
The big picture:
Ozone pollution, commonly referred to as smog, can have detrimental health effects. Exposure to elevated levels of ground-level ozone is linked to respiratory problems, including aggravated asthma, increased frequency of lung-related symptoms, and reduced lung function. It can also lead to an increased number of asthma attacks, sick days, and even premature death, particularly in urban areas with high pollution levels. Ground-level ozone poses a significant public health risk, especially to vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions.
Read the article at Associated Press.
Grace van Deelen reported for EHN that even “fairly low exposure” to ozone pollution could raise risk of mental health issues.