Washington, DC — State legislators from across the country delivered a letter to the EPA today supporting an ozone standard of 60 parts per billion (ppb), the most protective level under consideration. The letter was signed by 50 legislators from 25 different states.
Ozone, a key component in smog, is linked to numerous health effects such as asthma and heart disease. The letter was submitted in response to the EPA’s request for public input on revising the ozone standards. The review process began last November, and included a proposal to reduce acceptable ozone levels from the current 75 ppb to a range of 60 to 70 ppb.
“We need to be using current science to better protect our citizens,” said Ohio State Senator Michael Skindell. “Without updating these standards, millions of people are at risk simply from the air they breathe.” Skindell is a member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.
The EPA estimates a lower limit of 60 ppb will prevent up to 7,900 premature deaths, 1.8 million asthma attacks in children and 1.9 million missed school days. The letter cites research by independent scientists that reviewed nearly 2,000 studies and concluded that 60 ppb offers greater health protection than levels of 65 and 70 ppb also under consideration.
These legislators now join leading public health and medical groups including the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association and the Thoracic Society in supporting a standard of 60 ppb. A recent survey by the American Lung Association found that 68 percent of voters also support stricter standards on ozone emissions.
Through the letter, these state legislators hope to demonstrate a commitment to working with the EPA to attain and maintain healthy air.