Stricter standards would benefit the public

Photo by Tony Frates.

Thanks to all who submitted comments to the EPA on their consideration of soot standards. We know that there is no safe level of air pollution. 

After over a decade, we are thrilled to see the EPA looking at lowering the standard. However, their original proposal did not reduce it far enough to adequately protect the public. They did not propose tightening the 24 hour standard. Without tightening this standard, the Wasatch Front would not see benefits in air quality. 

UPHE submitted comments that said, “establishing regulations that indisputably allow this as an end result codifies a cynicism and disrespect for human life into federal agency regulatory actions that tend to be perpetuated and normalized. Much of the world looks to the EPA for guidance on environmental and public health protection, so the consequences of weak or delayed regulations reverberate throughout the world, affecting billions of lives.”

Raising the standard could have an even greater impact for lower income communities and communities of color, which are traditionally exposed to higher rates of pollution and environmental contaminants. A KSL article covered a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

The KSL article reports, “Everyone would benefit from cleaner air, they found, but higher- and lower-income Black people and low-income White people may benefit more from lower PM2.5 levels than higher-income White people.

The EPA is trying to determine how much stricter US air pollution safety standards should be. It’s considering lowering the standards from 12 micrograms per cubic meter to between 9 and 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

This study suggests that if the EPA were to go even further and lower the standard to 8 micrograms, the US would have a 4% reduction in the overall mortality rate,” study co-author Dr. Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics, population and data science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said.

KSL coverage here. 

Find our full comments to the EPA here.