Voces in Action
New EPA Smog Standard: An Improvement that Leaves Millions of Latinos at Risk
New EPA Smog Standard: An Improvement that Leaves Millions of Latinos at Risk

WASHINGTON (October 1, 2015) – This week, the Obama Administration missed a critical opportunity to update the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, a dangerous pollutant commonly known as smog pollution—to 70 parts per billion (ppb).

The following is a statement by Adrianna Quintero, Executive Director of Voces Verdes:

“EPA’s decision to lower the standard for ground-level ozone from 75 to 70 parts per billion (ppb) simply doesn’t go far enough to protect the health of millions of Americans and leaves millions of Latinos who live in areas with dangerously high levels of smog pollution, at risk.

"EPA's independent scientific advisors had unanimously recommended a limit 'lower than 70 ppb within a range down to 60 ppb.' So while this lower standard will provide greater protections, we can and must do better to protect our communities.

"Experts agree that inhaling smog pollution burns your lungs, inflaming deep lung tissue, making it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously and often causing shortness of breath, coughing and sore throat, greater susceptibility to infection, aggravated lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis, and increases the frequency of asthma attacks. Long-term exposure to smog pollution is linked to chronic respiratory diseases, and repeated inflammation over time may permanently scar lung tissue.

"Health risks related to ground-level ozone are also greater for people who spend time outdoors at work or play because the lungs are exposed to more ozone pollution. For the millions of Latinos who live in areas that frequently fail to meet clean air standards, and work outside in construction and agricultural trades in large numbers, a strong, health protective ozone standard is needed to provide much needed protection from the damaging health impacts of smog.

"Voces Verdes urges the implementation of the updated standard and will continue to push for a stronger, health protective standard that both follows the science and protects our health."

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