Air Resources Board Issues First State Standards in Nation for Micropollutants
The California Air Resources Board yesterday voted 9-0 to approve the first state standards in the nation to restrict the "amounts of the tiniest air pollution particles," a move that could prevent 6,500 deaths and 340,000 respiratory illnesses in the state each year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Soot, ash, dust and other micropollutants can "lodge deep in the lungs or get absorbed in the bloodstream," where they can contribute to asthma and pulmonary and heart disease, the Chronicle reports. Jerry Martin, a spokesperson for the board, said, "We're required to establish standards as goals to achieve. They have to be protective of the most vulnerable members of the population -- infants, children, elderly and people with respiratory and heart disease." He added, "These standards are essentially California's definition of what clean air is." The board approved a new California standard for particles 2.5 microns wide -- which could lead to new regulations on motor vehicles, power plants and farm and construction equipment -- at 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air, a requirement "stricter" than the federal standard of 15 micrograms established by the Environmental Protection Agency and "probably the most restrictive in the world," the Chronicle reports. The board also voted to tighten the standard for particles 10 microns wide from 30 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the EPA standard, to 20 micrograms. "We think its a huge win for all the breathers in California, especially infants and children, those with asthma and bronchitis," Bonnie Holmes-Gen, a spokesperson for the American Lung Association of California, said (Kay, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.