The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being urged by a coalition of environmental and health organizations to strengthen air quality standards for soot. The coalition, which includes the American Lung Association and the Natural Resources Defense Council, is calling on the EPA to update the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter to better protect public health and the environment.
According to the coalition, there is compelling evidence that the current standards are not stringent enough to prevent adverse health effects. They argue that stronger standards are necessary to protect vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and individuals with underlying health conditions, who are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of soot.
The EPA last updated the NAAQS for particulate matter in 2012, but the coalition believes that scientific evidence since then has strengthened the case for stronger standards. The EPA is currently conducting a review of the NAAQS for particulate matter, and the coalition is urging the agency to use the latest science to inform its decision-making.
Air pollution is a major public health threat, contributing to a range of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as premature death. Strengthening air quality standards for soot would be an important step towards protecting public health and reducing the impacts of climate change.