- The recommended standard will be updated from 0.12 parts per million of ozone measured over one hour to 0.08 parts per million measured over 8 hours.
- The new standard will extend new health protections to 35 million people, bringing to 113 million the number of Americans protected by the air quality standard for ozone.
- For children, the new standard will reduce respiratory problems, such as asthma attacks. It will result in 1 million fewer incidences of decreased lung function in children each year.
- States and counties will have at least until the year 2004 to meet the new standard.
- The standard for coarse particles remains essentially unchanged, while a new standard for fine particles-less than 2.5 microns, or about 1/28th the thickness of a human hair-will be set at an annual limit of 15 micrograms per cubic meter, with a 24-h our limit of 65 micrograms per cubic meter.
- This is the first time the government has set a public health standard for fine particle pollution.
- Scientists say that fine particles are some of the most damaging to human health because they penetrate and remain in the deepest passages of the lungs.
- The new standard will provide new protections to nearly 70 million Americans, and will prevent approximately 15,000 premature deaths a year.
- The EPA will allow five years to build a nationwide monitoring network to gather and analyze the data needed to designate nonattainment areas and gather information needed to write plans to control particulates.
- The EPA will allow another three years for areas that are not in compliance with the standard to develop plans, and several more years to actually comply with the standard.
- Source: EPA