(eng) EPA Press Release Part 2 of 2

Ewald (ewald@ctaz.net)
Fri, 06 Dec 1996 00:46:49 -0700

The original text of this press release can be found at:

Shawn Ewald


Scientific Review Process for Proposed Air Quality Standards

EPA's proposals to revise the standards for ozone and fine particle
pollution are based on a scientific review required by Congress under
the Clean Air Act, which mandates that the EPA Administrator determine
every five years whether the nation's air quality standards are adequate
to protect public health. Following is the scientific review process that
led to EPA's proposals:

Broad Range of Peer-Reviewed Scientific Evidence Examined:

To review the health standards for ozone and fine particle pollution,
EPA began by conducting a wide-ranging literature search, covering all
aspects of ozone and particulate pollution. The Agency then selected
for review those studies relevant to human health effects.

Over three years, EPA and two independent scientific review panels
identified 185 studies on the human health effects of ozone pollution
and 86 studies on the links between particulate matter pollution and
human health. Studies examined included controlled human studies,
epidemiological studies, and toxicological studies.

A broad range of studies reviewed indicated that the current standards
for both ozone pollution and particulate pollution do not adequately
protect public health, as required by law.

The studies show that serious health effects would occur even if the
current standards were being met, indicating the need for stronger health

EPA Relied on Independent, Peer Reviewed Scientific Research:

Under the Clean Air Act, Congress requires EPA to rely on the advice of
an independent scientific review panel, the Clean Air Scientific
Advisory Committee, made up of nationally recognized experts in a wide
range of disciplines -- physicians, toxicologists, epidemiologists, and
atmospheric scientists -- from academic research, industry and the
states. Two panels were assembled, one for each type of pollution.
A review document summarizing published, peer reviewed research on both
types of pollution and their health effects was prepared for the advisory
panel. A separate panel of national scientific experts then peer-reviewed
individual chapters in the summary document before the advisory panel
began its review.

The scientific advisory panels supported EPA's basic findings, supporting
the conclusion that a proposal to revise the ozone standard should be
made to reflect the health consequences of more prolonged exposures, and
endorsing the range of ozone concentrations EP considered. The vast
majority of panel members agreed on establishing a new standard for
fine particle pollution.

EPA Opens Extensive Public Comment Period on New Proposals

EPA has launched a 60-day public comment period on the proposed new
standards as well as the scientific evidence supporting them. In
addition, the review process has been a public one, with scientific
advisory panel meetings open to the public, and all review documents
publicly available prior to panel meetings.

Public Health Effects of Ozone and Fine Particle Pollution

Every American adult breathes in 13,000 liters of air each day, on average,
and children breathe in 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than
adults do -- making public health protection from harmful air pollutants a
top priority. As required by Congress in the Clean Air Act, EPA has
reviewed and proposed new standards to reduce two of the most widespread
forms of harmful air pollution -- particulate matter and ground-level ozone
(smog). Taken together, they contribute to acute health effects ranging from
premature deaths to preventable respiratory problems. Following are facts
about these types of pollution, related health effects, and results expected
from the new proposed standards, if they are finalized in their current form:

Particulate Matter: Particulate matter is a mix of coarse and fine particles
that can't be seen individually by the naked eye, but often appear as haze,
dust clouds or sooty emissions. Sources of coarse particles include
industrial crushing and grinding operations, materials handling, vehicle
travel on unpaved roads and windblown dust. Fine particles result from
industrial, motor vehicle and power generating fuel combustion, as well as
burning wood and brush. Pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides
and volatile organic
compounds also can form fine particles.

Effect on Public Health: Fine particles can penetrate deep into the lungs.
On a smoggy day, a single breath can take in millions of fine particles. Some
74 million Americans -- 2812f the population -- are regularly exposed to
harmful levels of particulate air pollution. In recent studies, exposure to
fine particle air pollution -- either alone or with other air pollutants --
has been linked with many health problems:

An estimated 40,000 Americans die prematurely each year, according to
peer-reviewed studies, from respiratory illness and heart attacks linked
with particle exposure, particularly elderly people; Children and adults
experience aggravated asthma. Asthma in children increased 118between
1980 and 1993, and it is currently the leading cause of child hospital
admissions; Children become ill more frequently and experience increased
respiratory problems, including difficult and painful breathing; and
Hospital admissions, emergency room visits and premature deaths increase
among adults with heart disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other
heart and lung diseases.

Increased Public Health Protections from EPA Proposal:

The current standard covers reductions of coarse particles of 10 microns in
diameter. If finalized in its current form, EPA's proposal would
increase public health protection by helping to reduce fine particles of 2.5
microns in diameter, as well as coarse particle pollution. This approach was
recommended by an overwhelming majority of independent scientists who
reviewed the standard for EPA, based on 86 new health studies that indicate
the need
for a stronger standard. If finalized as proposed, the new standard would:

Cut premature deaths linked with particulate air pollution by 50, or
approximately 20,000 deaths; with acid rain controls currently underway,
an additional 20,000 deaths will be avoided; Reduce aggravated asthma
episodes by more than a quarter million cases each year; Reduce incidence
of acute childhood respiratory problems by more than a quarter million
occurrences each year, including aggravated coughing and painful
breathing; Reduce chronic bronchitis by an estimated 60,000 cases each
year; Reduce hospital admissions due to respiratory problems by 9,000
each year, as well as reduce emergency room visits and overall childhood
illnesses in general; and Cut haze and visibility problems by as much as
77 10n some areas, such as national parks.

Ground-level Ozone: Ground-level ozone -- the prime ingredient in smog in
our cities -- is easily formed in the atmosphere, usually during hot
weather. Smog results from a reaction between such gases as nitrogen oxides
and volatile organic compounds that are emitted from motor vehicles and a
wide range of industrial air pollutants. Ozone also makes plants more
susceptible to diseases and pests, and reduces agricultural crop yields for
many economically vital crops such as wheat, cotton, soybeans and kidney beans.

Effect on Public Health: Studies show that repeated exposure to ozone
pollution for several months may cause permanent structural damage to the
lungs, a serious issue for the 122 million Americans -- 4612f the population
-- who are regularly exposed to harmful levels of ozone pollution. Because
ozone pollution usually forms in hot weather, anyone who spends time outdoors
in the summer is at risk, particularly children, moderate exercisers, and
outdoor workers. Even when inhaled at very low levels, ground-level ozone
prompts a variety of health problems:

Children and adults experience aggravated asthma;
Healthy adults' lung capacity is temporarily reduced by 15 to 20 percent;
Hospital admissions and emergency room visits increase. In the
northeastern U.S., 10 to 20 percent of all summertime hospital visits for
respiratory problems are linked with ozone pollution;
Lung tissues are inflamed, and acute respiratory problems develop; and
Immune defenses are reduced, leaving people more susceptible to
respiratory illness, including pneumonia and bronchitis.

Increased Public Health Protections from EPA Proposal:

Because it has not been revised since 1979, and because current science
indicates that many Americans still appear to be at risk from ozone
pollution, EPA is proposing to revise the standard to provide increased
health protection. If finalized in its current form, the new proposal
would reduce ground-level ozone concentrations from .12 parts per million
measured over one hour to .08 parts per million measured over eight hours,
and change to a more accurate measurement that will better reflect the
actual health effects of ozone. This approach was reviewed by a panel of
independent scientists and based on 185 new health studies. If finalized
in its current form, the new proposal is expected to:

Result in over 1.5 million fewer cases of significant breathing problems
(those where lung function is reduced up to 20);
Significantly reduce the need for hospital admissions, missed school and
work days, restricted activity, and emergency room visits for respiratory
Cut illness in children overall, and reduce conditions ranging from
inflamed lungs to irreversible lung damage in children;
Reduce episodes when asthmatic children require medication or medical
treatment; andReduce by nearly $1 billion agricultural crop losses caused
by ozone.

### B O Y C O T T S H E L L ###
greedy murderers and polluters
remember Ken Saro Wiwa and the slaughtered Ogoni
"Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are rather forced
upon them from without. And even their enactment into law has for a long
time been no guarantee of thier security. They do not exist because they
have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have
become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them
will meet with the violent resistance of the populace."

--Rudolf Rocker