Contact: Sasha Tenenbaum, firstname.lastname@example.org, (917) 887-0146
Washington, DC—Today, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan announced the finalization of new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particle pollution, also known as PM2.5 or soot. In response to the proposal, Dominique Browning, Director and Co-Founder of Moms Clean Air Force, released the following statement:
“Particle pollution is a killer. In the United States alone, it cuts short the lives of well over 100,000 people per year—a staggering toll. Children’s bodies are uniquely vulnerable to the harms of soot pollution. We commend EPA for taking a significant step forward in strengthening the annual standard for particle pollution, also known as soot, to 9 micrograms per cubic meter from its current level at 12. EPA’s strengthened national health standard for particle pollution is the first improvement in over a decade; the previous administration chose to keep an inadequate level of protection. Soot is associated with increased infant mortality, hospital admissions for heart and lung diseases, cancer, and increased asthma severity. EPA’s finalized protection is an important step towards cleaner, healthier air for all children.
“EPA’s new protections also go a long way in strengthening the network of air monitors on which it relies. Its emphasis on greater guidance in the placement of those monitors in already highly burdened communities is a welcome move. Right now, people of color are consistently exposed to higher levels of particle pollution from sources like power plants, industrial facilities, and heavily-trafficked roads, and they are more than six times more likely to visit the emergency room for asthma-related issues. Black children are more than seven times more likely to die from asthma than white children.
“We urge EPA to prioritize protections against elevated daily exposures to particle pollution by ensuring that the implementation of these stronger national standards reduces daily pollution spikes. EPA must swiftly evaluate further strengthening the health standard for daily exposures. This is vital. We also call on EPA to ensure that the monitoring improvements are designed to reveal the sources responsible for high soot levels, and to accelerate the adoption of enforceable pollution limits.
“Taken together, all of the EPA protections under Administrator Regan’s tenure are offering much-needed and significant progress. EPA’s recent methane rule will protect people from the harmful volatile organic compounds and toxics released along with methane–and dramatically slash climate-heating methane emissions. Stronger pollution protections for vehicles and power plants are anticipated in the coming months. So much is at stake for our children, our communities, and our collective future. Members of Moms Clean Air Force will continue to demand that every one of these critical EPA protections gets across the finish line. We have absolutely no time to lose.”