Utah Doctors Call for Stricter EPA Standards to Match WHO Guidelines

September 23, 2021

Dr. Brian Moench – UPHE Board President 801-243-9089 drmoench@yahoo.com
Jonny Vasic – UPHE Executive Director  jvasic@uphe.org  385-707-3677

World Health Organization announces much stricter air pollution guidelines.  

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) call for stricter EPA standards to match WHO guidelines. The World Health Organization (WHO) just announced that countries throughout the world should significantly tighten their air pollution standards. They stated that in 2019, 99% of the world’s population was living in places where the WHO air quality guidelines levels were not being met.

 The new guidelines reflect the ever-expanding body of research that shows air pollution’s impact on public health is greater than has been recognized in the past. It affects all major organ systems, affects all age groups, and can even harm the health of future generations because of its damaging effect on chromosomal function. The guidelines are consistent with the widespread conclusion that no amount of air pollution can be considered “safe” for human exposure.

“The EPA’s air quality standards have fallen far behind the science. These new WHO guidelines are appropriately much stricter, and the EPA has a duty to protect public health in the United States by quickly adopting much stricter standards, in line with these new guidelines from the WHO,” said Dr. Brian Moench, President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment.

The guidelines are stricter for all major pollutants except sulfur dioxide (SO2). For example, the new WHO guideline for the 24-hr. PM2.5 (the standard that Wasatch Front cities are perpetually violating) has been reduced to 15 ug/m3. The current EPA standard is still 35.  The annual average PM2.5 standard has been reduced to 5 ug/m3, the EPA standards is still 12.  The new ozone guideline is 50 ppb, and the current EPA standard is still 70 ppb.

WHO Fact Sheet: Air Quality and Health

“Any air pollution is bad for our health so the nearer we can reduce it to zero the better. Although we will not achieve the ideal of zero air pollution we certainly should try to come as close as possible,” said Dr. Richard E. Kanner, UPHE board member.


Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment was formed in 2007 during one of Utah’s worse inversions.  The organization consists of approximately 400 medical professionals within Utah, and another 4,000 supporting members of the public.  UPHE is dedicated to protecting the health and well being of the citizens of Utah by promoting science- based health education and interventions that result in progressive and measurable improvements to the environment and our health. UPHE can be found at www.uphe.org or on Facebook.