EPA updates clean air standards, farm dust unaffected

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In response to a court order, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday finalized an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot, setting the annual health standard at 12 micrograms per cubic meter. By 2020, ninety-nine percent of U.S. counties are projected to meet revised health standard without any additional actions.

The announcement has no effect on the existing daily standard for fine particles or the existing daily standard for coarse particles (PM10), which includes dust from farms and other sources), both of which remain unchanged.

“These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act. We will save lives and reduce the burden of illness in our communities, and families across the country will benefit from the simple fact of being able to breathe cleaner air,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Fine particle pollution can penetrate deep into the lungs and has been linked to a wide range of serious health effects, including premature death, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children, according to EPA.

It is expected that fewer than 10 counties, out of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States, will need to consider any local actions to reduce fine particle pollution in order to meet the new standard by 2020, as required by the Clean Air Act. The rest can rely on air quality improvements from federal rules already on the books to meet this new standard.

More on the 2020 Map: http://www.epa.gov/pm/2012/2020map.pdf

More information: http://www.epa.gov/pm

Administrator’s video: http://www.dvidshub.net/unit/usepa#.UMtrHeQ8155

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New Zealand  |  December, 15, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Close this waste of time and money public relations department down!

December, 16, 2012 at 11:18 AM

I agree ...close it down ... we've had a generation of environmental education .... let the states take care of any concerns.

Massachusetts  |  December, 17, 2012 at 05:28 AM

This is all made up! All the scientist in the world reported with diligence, that GLOBAL WARMING , is , and never was, REAL or has any impact on our planet or human civilization! THE EPA IS A PHONY CAUSE for PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE A CAUSE!!! AS SOON AS OBAMA WAS ELECTED, I HAD A BET IN AS TO WHAT TIME OF DAY THAT THE words ," GREEN HOUSE GAS"!!! " THOSE BIG BAD COMPANIES ARE DESTROYING OUR PLANET!!! IT'S ALL MAKE BELIEVE! DO SOME RESEARCH , YOU FOOLS. ( SORRY, NOT EVERYBODY ).

CNY  |  December, 17, 2012 at 09:53 AM

I'm not sure whether the above is sarcasm or actual ignorance. If you "do some research" make sure the sources are the real deal, not wing-nuts telling you what they or their sponsors think you want to hear. I've been farming for 50 years and I don't need to do any research to know it's obviously warmer now than when I started. I learned about greenhouse gas effect in high school chemistry 55 years ago, this ain't nothing new. Don't bother to reply as I refuse to get into a p---ing match. Anyway, Merry Christmas no matter what.

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