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Media Statement: EPA’s new standards to reduce unsafe ozone must be more protective

Media Statement: EPA’s new standards to reduce unsafe ozone must be more protective

ATLANTA, (December 1, 2014) – Susan Berryman-Rodriguez, director of Mothers & Others for Clean Air (M&O), a program of the American Lung Association of the Southeast, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to strengthen the current ozone pollution limits to a more protective level in the range of 65 parts per billion (ppb) -70 ppb, down from 75 ppb:

“The recently released proposal by the Obama Administration to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone would provide greater protection to residents of Georgia and North Carolina. Thousands of peer-reviewed medical studies show that breathing ozone pollution is dangerous to human health. The EPA review shows harm is occurring at levels far below what is currently considered “safe.”

That means that until now, too many parents have been assured that the air in their community is safe for their children to breathe. However the science shows that information was wrong. Every parent in America has a right to know the truth about the air their children breathe.

M&O is concerned that EPA did not include 60 ppb in the range, though it was the clear recommendation of independent scientists as well as health and medical societies, including the American Lung Association. The scientific record clearly shows that a standard of 60 ppb would provide the most public health protection. We will continue to push the Agency to adopt standards based on the scientific evidence.

For far too long, millions of Americans have been living with a weak and outdated standard. In a new nationwide, bipartisan survey conducted by the American Lung Association, an overwhelming 68 percent of voters across party and demographic lines support stricter ozone standards that will protect public health . President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy must adopt a more protective standard to protect the American people from real dangers of ozone pollution by October 1, 2015.”

Additional information:
Ozone pollution can cause premature death, irritate the lungs, and trigger breathing problems and asthma attacks that send people to the emergency room. Evidence since the last ozone standard review also warns that breathing ozone may cause cardiovascular damage and increase the risk of low birth weight babies.

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About Mothers & Others for Clean Air
Founded by Laura Seydel and Stephanie Blank in 2004, Mothers & Others for Clean is a partnership of leading public health, environmental and child advocacy organization dedicated to improving air quality. A program of the American Lung Association of the Southeast, Mothers & Others for Clean Air educates the public about the negative health effects from air pollution and engages people by promoting individual actions and policy change to improve air quality. To learn more about M&O and to view a list of partner organizations, go to mocleanair.org.