The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed replacing smog limits set in 2008 under the Bush administration with an even stricter set of rules. The standards that are currently in place do not go far enough to protect human health, the agency says.
New limits on ground-level pollution could be bad news for owners of construction equipment, trucks, cars and other vehicles, as well as power plants and factories, potentially prompting them to install expensive pollution-control devices.
“EPA is stepping up to protect Americans from one of the most persistent and widespread pollutants we face,” says EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. “Smog in the air we breathe poses a very serious health threat, especially to children and individuals suffering from asthma and lung disease. It dirties our air, clouds our cities, and drives up our health-care costs across the country.”
To reduce illnesses caused by vehicle and factory exhaust reacting with the sunlight, EPA wants to limit ground-level ozone concentration from the current 75 parts per billion over 8 hours to between 60 and 70 parts per billion.
“Using the best science to strengthen these standards is a long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier,” Jackson says.
If enacted, the new standard would save citizens between $13 billion and $100 billion in health-care costs by decreasing aggravated asthma, bronchitis cases, and emergency room visits, the EPA says.