NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

New EPA Standards Could Hurt Public Health

April 21, 1997

Analysts observe that new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ozone and particulate air standards distort views of mainstream science and could hurt public health rather than improve it.

  • Environmental analysts note that no available data exist supporting the claim that current air standards are inadequate and are making people sick.
  • The proposed new EPA standards are based on the unrealistic premise that people spend 24 hours a day exposed to pollutants in an urban setting.
  • In reality, the analysts point out, most people spend 85 percent of their time indoors, where air pollutant concentrates are significantly lower.

Analysts on all sides of the issue agree the new standards will be very costly.

  • The EPA itself estimates its new standards will cost $6.5 billion to $8.5 billion.
  • The president's Council of Economic Advisors estimates the cost of the standards will range from $12 billion to $60 billion.
  • One study estimates the cost to Chicago alone will reach $2.5 billion to $7 billion annually.

The new standards pose such a heavy cost to society that they could actually worsen public health by lowering living standards and reducing access to health care.

Source: Elizabeth Whelan (American Council on Science and Health), "Corporate Greed or Children's Health," Washington Times, April 22, 1997.


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