President Obama delays new ozone rules; misses opportunity to protect public health

RAMP was disappointed to learn that President Obama has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stand-down from its plan to develop a new standard for ground-level ozone. Ozone, a colorless and odorless gas, is the chief component of urban smog. It causes airway inflammation and damages lung tissues, which can lead to breathing problems including coughing, wheezing, and chest pain. Ozone has been implicated in the onset of asthma in children, and has been linked to increased hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

The EPA was poised to set a tougher standard for ozone based on the recommendation of its scientific advisors. The new, stronger standard would have pushed many parts of the country to implement plans to reduce pollution and thus better protect the public’s health. Given that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asthma prevalence increased 12% from 2001 to 2009 and that among African American children prevalence increased 50%, now is not the time to be hold back on any and all means to control the epidemic.

Let President Obama know that the EPA should proceed with the new, tougher ozone standard to protect the public’s health. You can share your views here or sign the American Lung Association’s statement here.

For a news article about the latest development, click here. Also see editorials in the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle