EPA Proposes Stricter Air Pollution Regulations by 2020

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EPA Proposes Stricter Air Pollution Regulations by 2020

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:17 pm

Prevention News
EPA Proposes Stricter Air Pollution Regulations by 2020
Your Commute Just Got a Little Less Toxic

A new EPA proposal takes aim at health-damaging air pollutants
By Emily Main

You can't always see it, but that doesn't mean you aren't breathing in toxic pollution from the tailpipe of that SUV idling in front of you in traffic. Microscopic particles from the incomplete combustion of gas, diesel, and other fossil fuels can and do make their way to your lungs, and research has linked it to everything from heart attacks to low birth weight in babies.

By 2020, though, that could all change. The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that they're revamping their particulate-matter pollution rule, known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particle Pollution. As a result, every industry that contributes soot and other fine particle pollution to the air has to work to clean up its act.

Prevent Air Pollution At Home

"The good news about today's action is that 99 percent of U.S. counties will meet the proposed standards by 2020," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, on a conference call. That's because the agency has passed numerous laws over the past few years that are already indirectly lowering particulate matter through other measures, mainly at power plants.

But it's not just power plants affected by the new rule. Vehicles, trucks, trains, shipping vessels, wood-burning stove manufacturers, agricultural operations, construction sites, and factories will all have to start taking better measures, or installing better pollution controls, to cut down on the amount of soot and fine particulate matter their operations send into people's lungs.

The proposal, which will be borne out in public meetings and public comments over the next 9 weeks, is aiming to reduce the current levels of ultrafine soot particles, known as PM2.5, from 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air to somewhere in the range of 11 to 13 micrograms per cubic meter.

The Earliest Asthma Attack Warning Sign

That might not sound like much of a reduction, but according to a 2011 report compiled by the nonprofits Earthjustice, Clean Air Task Force, and the American Lung Association, lowering levels of soot by that small of an amount would prevent 27,300 premature deaths from heart attacks and strokes, 1.4 million cases of asthma and 2.7 million days of pollution-related sick days related to air pollution. In addition to those problems, lowering pollution would reduce the number of bronchitis cases, certain types of cancer, and infant mortality.

By EPA's calculations, each dollar industries and local governments invest in pollution controls will result in anywhere from $30 to $86 dollars in lowered health-care costs.

The EPA will issue its final rule in December 2012 with the expectation that all counties in the U.S. will comply by 2020, if not earlier. In the meantime, here are some ways to ward off the damages of dirty air:

• Exercise inside on dirty-air days. You probably pay attention to the weather forecast, but do you ever check your city's air quality forecast? During the summer, and any day that you feel like your city is looking particularly hazy, check http://www.airnow.gov to see if you're having a high-hazard air-pollution day. If you are, take your daily workout inside to keep your lungs and heart safe from toxic pollutants.

• Eat lots of omega-3s. Two recent studies have found that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids, whether you get them from food or from supplements, can ward off the damages caused by air pollution.

• Consider telecommuting. The healthiest commute? The one that doesn't involve you being around fossil fuels. Talk to your boss about the possibility of working from home once a week (or more, if you're comfortable with asking). You'll not only be protecting your heart and lungs, but you may also find yourself more productive. Studies are finding that telecommuters get more work done at home than office-bound peers (water cooler gossip, anyone?), and they have a better work-life balance.

http://www.prevention.com/health/health ... tions-2020
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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