EPA Testimony: Set The Allowable Level Of Smog At 60 ppb

BY ON February 9, 2015



Moms Clean Air Force DC field organizer, Julie Hantman participated in EPA’s public hearing on the smog standard on January 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. Here is the testimony she delivered:

Good morning, my name is Julie Hantman, and I am with Moms Clean Air Force, a community of parents fighting for clean air. I am grateful to speak to you today, to urge EPA to strengthen the national ambient air quality standards for ozone.

I am wearing many hats today. Many reasons drive me to testify.

I have mild asthma that’s worse in the summer.

I am a resident of Washington, DC and I am mother to a toddler who loves the outdoors — yet we live 100 steps away from heavily trafficked Massachusetts Avenue – in a region that gets an ‘F’ from lung experts for respiratory health. I must try to help clean up the air that my daughter breathes.

And I am DC Field Organizer with Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF). In that role I have gotten to know moms here, and around the country, whose families suffer from dirty air. Many say they have multiple respiratory threats in their region. This makes each and every clean air battleground extremely important – and smog is one of the biggest problems.

I therefore respectfully urge you to set the smog standard at 60 parts per billion (ppb). The scientific record demonstrates that this level would provide the strongest public health protections for Americans and most importantly for our children. It is based on the recommendation of the independent Clean Air Scientific Advisory Panel, which rests on a thorough and expert review of the science.

You will hear vigorous push-back — particularly from polluting industries — that this cannot, or should not, be done.

But on behalf of over 1,200 moms and dads in my DC chapter – and over 400,000 members of Moms Clean Air Force nationally – I urge you to hold the line — and indeed lower the line down to that 60 parts per billion level.

Push-back against sound public health initiatives of course is the norm.

I wear another hat today – that of a public health professional who — in the last twenty years – has scratched my head many times at the prevailing tendency to ignore or minimize public health crises. AIDS, antibiotic resistance, and more.

And here’s what I’ve learned: the more a public health problem affects certain groups of people most and not everyone; or the problem has lasted long enough or hit broadly enough that it seems, in a sense, normal; or requires preventive solutions that are complex or entail changes to established practices or retrofit, — then the more some people cry foul at the upfront price tag. Yet if ignored or insufficiently addressed, the problem builds and builds.

This is a terrific opportunity for public health. The science is clear. EPA has the opportunity to protect millions of Americans from dirty air and unnecessary illness. According to EPA’s analysis, strengthening the smog standard to the more stringent 60 ppb would confer profound health benefits to Americans. At this level of protection, EPA estimates 7,900 fewer deaths, 1.8 million fewer asthma attacks in children, and 9.2 million fewer restricted activity days or lost school days, each year. The monetized benefits of this level of protection in 2025 would be upwards of $37 billion – profound savings as well. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

EPA should follow the science. Setting the allowable level of smog at 60 ppb would provide the strongest public health protections for American families. New, stronger standards for smog pollution will help millions of Americans with asthma and other respiratory ailments, breathe easier.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.


TOPICS: Activism, EPA, Ozone, Pollution