Court Sends EPA Back to Review PM Standards

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it must review and reconsider the 2006 decision on the national ambient air quality standards for particulate matter, according to a Feb. 24 press release from the American Lung Association.

The Lung Association in partnership with its environmental colleagues and states had challenged EPA’s decision, because the science clearly shows that the standards set in 2006 failed to adequately protect public health.

“This victory is especially important, because the public health threat posed by particulate matter air pollution is so grave,” said Janice Nolen, American Lung Association Assistant vice president, National Policy and Advocacy. “We encourage EPA to follow the clear scientific evidence and adopt standards that will protect the millions living in areas plagued with unhealthy levels of air pollution as the Clean Air Act requires.”

According to the press release, millions of people are particularly sensitive to particle pollution and face greater health risks from breathing particulate matter, including infants, children, teen, seniors, people with lung diseases like asthma, people with cardiovascular diseases, and diabetics. Even healthy adults who exercise or work outdoors in areas affected by high levels of particle pollution are at increased risk.

The Clean Air Act requires that EPA set standards at levels that protect public health based on the current science. These standards define the official limits of air pollution that are safe for people to breathe and determine the goals for every state to clean up emissions.

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