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EPA Proposes New Air Quality Standard
Pursuant to the Clean Air Act’s requirement that the EPA review and update smog standards every five years , the agency is considering further limiting the amount of permissible ground-level ozone to within a range of 65-70 parts per billion (ppb) while taking comment on levels as low as 60 ppb.
Currently, the ozone standard is set at 75 ppb. However, the agency points to over 1,000 new studies published since the last update that indicate that exposure to ozone levels below the current standard still pose serious threats to public health. These include respiratory system harm, causation or aggravation of asthma and other lung diseases, and even premature death.
By lowering the amount of allowed ground-level ozone, the EPA estimates that up to 180,00 missed workdays and up to 4,300 premature deaths will be avoided, noting that the estimated benefits for the new regulation vastly outweigh the potential cost. The proposal seeks public comment and the agency plans to hold three public hearings before delivering final ozone standards in October 2015.
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