Proposed EPA Smog Standards Unrealistic

Air Pollution Hysteria Prompting Unfounded Ozone Fears, Say NCPA Expert


DALLAS (June 21, 2007) - Reducing smog emissions standards from the current 85 parts per billion (ppb) to between 70 ppb and 75 ppb, as recently suggested by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), is virtually impossible, according to Joel Schwarz, an adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis' E-Team.  And even if the reduction was possible, Schwarz added, it would do nothing to improve American's overall health.

"Nineteen percent of the nation's metropolitan areas already exceed the current standard," said Schwartz, who also is author of the study, "Facts, Not Fear on Pollution" (http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st294/ ). "These new proposed standards would turn most of the nation into a Clean Air Act ‘non-attainment area.'"

The proposed emission reduction would also require a complete elimination of human ozone-forming emissions, which is a practical impossibility, according to Schwarz.  He adds that eliminating all emissions from cars, trucks, and industry, the U.S would have to eliminate all emissions from household stoves, water heaters and cleaning solvents.  And even then some areas would be unable to meet the standard.

The EPA argues new standards would improve health, but studies show health problems like asthma are actually lowest when the ozone levels are at their peak. Laboratory studies have confirmed exposure to ozone even at ten times the current ambient levels is not deadly to animals.

"The worst part is this standard will do nothing to improve Americans' health, but the costs of attaining the standard will surely make them worse off by diverting families' limited budgets away from education, housing, leisure, food, and everything else they care about," continued Schwartz.