(May 7, 2020 – Salt Lake City, UT) –  Last week, the Trump EPA refused their obligation under the Clean Air Act to make national air quality standards stricter, despite the wealth of new research that shows those old standards are badly out of date.  This decision will allow more air pollution for another five years at the least.  

The Clean Air Act requires an update of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards every five years to reflect the conclusions of new research.  But the 24 hr. PM2.5 standard that the Wasatch Front violates virtually every year (35 ug/m3) has not been updated since 2006.  The annual average PM2.5 (12 ug/m3) hasn’t been updated since 2012.  Health experts say they should be lowered to 25 ug/m3 and 8 ug/m3, respectively.   

The EPA’s refusal will lead to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, and hundreds of thousands more people to suffer a long list of diseases and disorders of the heart, lungs, brain, endocrine and immune systems, pregnancy complications, birth defects, and cancer.  

Air Pollution Smoke Environment - Free photo on Pixabay

“The Administration is now admitting COVID-19 will likely kill more than 100,000 people, and the real health experts are warning it will be even worse.  The President’s meager containment strategy has degenerated into merely letting it ‘rip through the country, and we’ll see who’s left standing.’  But new research shows that refusing to tighten air pollution standards will increase those death totals by tens of thousands.  The indifference of this Administration toward saving American lives from the coronavirus, air pollution, and the deadly combination of the two, is shocking,” said Dr. Brian Moench, President Utah Physicians for a Health Environment.

“This administration is sacrificing the health of the U.S.population for the sole purpose of increasing the profits of polluting corporations.  And those health costs have been shown to be much greater than the price of controlling the pollution.  It doesn’t even make economic sense,” said Dr. Richard Kanner, Board Member UPHE.