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smog

EPA Tightens Smog Standards

smogThe EPA issued tighter smog standards yesterday, limiting ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion from 75 ppb.

The agency says the updated National Ambient Air Quality Standards will reduce the public’s exposure to ozone pollution and says the public health benefits of the updated standards, estimated at $2.9 to $5.9 billion annually in 2025, outweigh the estimated annual costs of $1.4 billion.

While the new smog standards aren’t as stringent as they could have been — the EPA originally proposed strengthening the air quality standards to within a range of 65 ppb to 70 ppb while taking comment on a level as low as 60 ppb — the National Association of Manufacturers immediately issued a statement calling the rule “overly burdensome, costly and misguided.

“After an unprecedented level of outreach by manufacturers and other stakeholders, the worst-case scenario was avoided,” said NAM president and CEO Jay Timmons. “But make no mistake: the new ozone standard will inflict pain on companies that build things in America—and destroy job opportunities for American workers.”

Nationally, from 1980 to 2014, average ozone levels have fallen 33 percent, according to EPA estimates.

The agency also strengthened the “secondary ozone standard” to 70 ppb, which it says will improve protection for trees, plants and ecosystems.

The Clean Air Act provides states with time to meet the standards. Depending on the severity of their ozone problem, areas would have until between 2020 and 2037 to meet the standards.

Photo Credit: smog via Shutterstock

 

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2 thoughts on “EPA Tightens Smog Standards

  1. Is areas have up until 2037 to meet the 70 parts per billion standard, what the heck is the national Association of Manufacturers complaining about? Advances in technology alone will probably make this possible. After all, 2037 is 22 years away and ozone pollution has dropped 33% in the past 30 years.

  2. some information i wanted to share
    .
    .
    What Will Happen to Life on Earth if Ozone Depletion Continues?

    Most scientists are agreed that without the earth’s ozone layer, we would all cease to exist.

    That’s one of the main reasons that global ozone levels are now constantly monitored and worldwide research is taking place into ozone depletion.

    Land and Water Life Would Suffer
    Without the ozone layer’s protection from the sun, people, animals and plant life would be destroyed. Even underwater life would not be safe since UV rays can penetrate clear water to a certain depth before being absorbed.
    Of course, the actual effect on mankind of less ozone depends on the extent to which it is depleted. Experts believe that for every 1% drop in ozone protection, there is an increase of around 2% in UV-B rays which get through to the planet’s surface.

    Good News
    However, research carried out for the United Nations Environmental Programme showed that ozone levels had not fallen further between 2002 and 2005, thanks to initiatives such as the Montreal Protocol.
    One of the greatest problems with ozone is that we need the “right” amount to maintain life as we know it today. Too little and life on earth could be wiped out – but too much and we won’t receive the amount of sunlight that we need. (Some scientists are now concerned that global warming will lead to much higher levels of ozone which could block out too much sun).

    It is widely known that rates of skin cancer are linked to UV-B exposure – which is one of the reasons that it’s so important to use suncream and to make sure that children are protected from the sun. (Latest research suggests that you are more at risk from just two or three instances of extreme sunburn than from prolonged but limited exposure such as sunbathing.)

    Increase in Disease
    However, increased exposure to the sun’s radiation can also cause blindness and cataracts and, alarmingly, some experts now believe that the amount of protection we receive from vaccinations (for diseases such as measles) could be reduced in people exposed to higher levels of UV-B rays.
    Depending on the level of exposure to the sun, effects can range from premature ageing to certain kinds of skin cancer. Over the past decade there has been a large increase in the number of people developing skin cancer but this could be attributed to the rise in the popularity of sunbathing over the past quarter-of-a-century rather than simply to reduced ozone levels.

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