The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a change to the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) to include “fine particle pollution.” The EPA is suggesting strengthening the annual PM2.5 standard from 12 micrograms per cubic meter to 9 and 10 micrograms per cubic meter. According to the agency, PM2.5, also known as soot, can get trapped in the lungs, leading to serious health risks. Having based their proposal on new studies, the EPA claims that strengthening the standard would prevent 4,200 deaths a year and save $43 billion in healthcare costs.
In a recent quote, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said, “Our work to deliver clean, breathable air for everyone is a top priority at EPA, and this proposal will help ensure that all communities, especially the most vulnerable among us, are protected from exposure to harmful pollution. This proposal to deliver stronger health protections against particulate matter is grounded in the best available science, advancing the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to scientific integrity and a rigorous scientific process.”