(9/7/12) This summer, the EPA proposed to strengthen the current standard for fine particle pollution (PM 2.5) or “soot”. Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, a network of 300 medical and health professionals in North Carolina, submitted a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in support of stronger PM 2.5 standards to protect the lives of North Carolinians and millions of Americans across the country. The proposed standard would be set at a level within a range of 12 µg/m3—13 µg/m3 and is expected to be finalized in December.
Fine particles come from a variety of sources including vehicles, power plants and fires and can be deadly to public health. An extensive body of scientific evidence shows exposure to particle pollution shortens human life and is linked to a variety of significant health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, respiratory illnesses and even cancer. Studies have also shown these effects occur at air pollution levels well below the current standards, proving the current standards are too weak and fail to adequately protect the public.
In the letter, Medical Advocates urge EPA to uphold the American Lung Association’s recommendations to adopt an annual standard of 11 micrograms per cubic meter (11 ug/m3) and to adopt a much stronger 24-hour standard of 25 micrograms per cubic meter (25 ug/m3). Read the entire letter here.
The following resources provide more information on the proposed standard and the public health response:
- Overview of EPA’s Proposal to Revise PM 2.5 Standard: www.epa.gov/pm/2012/fsoverview.pdf
- Sick of Soot: How The EPA Can Save Lives By Cleaning Up Fine Particle Air Pollution report by American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force and Earthjustice (November 2011)
- Health Benefits of Alternative PM2.5 Standards, a new analysis prepared for the American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force and Earthjustice
- American Lung Association’s Talking Points for EPA hearings on revised PM 2.5 standard: http://cleanaircarolina.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/PM-NAAQS-Hearing-Talking-Points-ALA.pdf