EPA Encouraged to Strengthen Air-Quality Standards for Soot
Monday, February 27, 2023
Environmental and health advocates say the Environmental Protection Agency's most recent proposal to strengthen national air-quality standards for soot falls short of protecting public health.
Soot, or fine particulate matter, is a dangerous mix of metals and acidic substances - from burning coal, manufacturing and vehicles. The particles are small enough to enter the lungs and bloodstream.
Patrick Drupp - director of climate policy at the Sierra Club - said the EPA could save up to 20,000 lives based on its own science, by adopting a more stringent soot standard.
"Everyone has a right to breathing clean air," said Drupp. "And right now, that right is being denied to a lot of people around the country."
Drupp said 20 million Americans live with dangerous levels of soot pollution year-round, and that the EPA is proposing to set soot standards at levels slightly higher than recommended by its own scientific advisory committee.
The public can comment on the proposal until March 28.
The EPA's draft proposal strengthens the acceptable annual standard for soot exposure - but does not strengthen what's known as the "24-hour standard," which protects people from dangerous short-term spikes in air pollution.
Daniel Fitzgerald - director of advocacy for the American Lung Association of Massachusetts and Rhode Island - said annual air quality reports show Massachusetts residents fare better than those in other parts of the country.
"Most Massachusetts counties that reported received 'A' grades," said Fitzgerald. "We did have a couple 'B' grades there, so still kind of opportunities for improvement."
Still, Fitzgerald noted that air is shared - and despite Massachusetts overall good air quality, smoke and ash from massive wildfires on the West Coast last year led to air-quality alerts on the East Coast.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
California's medical aid-in-dying law is back in court. Three patients with disabilities and two doctors are asking to intervene in a lawsuit …
Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago says its student body and campus are growing - and so are its options for people to study in STEM fields…
Health and Wellness
By Nathalia Teixeira for Kent State News Lab.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration…
Maine's new Office of Affordable Health Care holds its first public hearing this week, and people are being strongly encouraged to participate…
The number of children locked behind bars in Alabama has declined, but their advocates said more needs to be done to create alternatives to …
This coming Saturday, North Dakotans will get a chance to see how election workers go to great lengths to ensure a safe and secure voting process…
Scientists at Purdue University have been experimenting to create adhesives designed to be easier on the environment. So many products from …
It's Hispanic Heritage Month, and one Nevada organization wants Latinos to realize the power they can have when they are more politically engaged…