EPA to clear up smog standards

16 September 2009– U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said the agency would reconsider the 2008 national smog standards to ensure they are scientifically sound and protective of human health.

Ground-level ozone forms when emissions from industrial facilities, power plants, landfills and motor vehicles react in the presence of sunlight. Scientific studies have linked ozone exposure to respiratory health problems.

The reconsideration will cover both primary and secondary ozone standards. EPA sets primary standards to protect the health of sensitive groups such as the elderly and small children. The secondary standard protects the public welfare and the environment from visibility impairment and damage to animals, crops, vegetation and buildings.

EPA will review the reasoning behind the 2008 decision and will also review the findings of the independent Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, which recommended the stronger standards. The agency will propose any new standards by December 2009 and issue a final decision by August 2010.

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