EPA's New Ozone Standards Disappoint Everyone

"The Environmental Protection Agency said the new standard of 70 parts per billion will reduce exposure to dangerous ozone pollution and prevent thousands of asthma attacks and emergency room visits and hundreds of premature deaths each year.

Environmental and health groups argued that the rules fall short. The new standard is below the current standard of 75 parts per billion but at the high end of a range announced by the EPA last fall."


"EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy acknowledged the intense criticism from all sides, but said her job was to set science-backed standards that protect the health of the American people, not take actions "based on popularity."

In a lengthy statement to reporters, McCarthy said the best available clinical data show that 72 parts per billion "is the lowest ozone exposure that causes adverse health effects in healthy, exercising adults."

From there, she decided to add in a "margin of safety" to protect vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly and those suffering from heart and lung ailments. Setting the level at 70 parts per billion "will essentially eliminate exposures to the levels that clinical studies clearly show are harmful," McCarthy said."


"At least one environmental group vowed to challenge the new standard in court, and business groups said they also were considering a legal challenge.

Cutting ozone emissions to 70 parts per billion would cost industry about $1.4 billion in 2025, the EPA said, far below benefits estimated at $2.9 billion to $5.9 billion annually.

Aiming to smooth the transition, the EPA plans to give states that have the most ozone up to 2037 to come into compliance. But McCarthy said most of the U.S. won't have to take any action, thanks to existing pollution programs and previous EPA limits on pollutants such as mercury and carbon dioxide that have the side benefit of reducing ozone.

The EPA said only 14 U.S. counties would likely fail to meet a standard of 70 parts per billion in 2025, a figure challenged by business groups and Republicans."