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EPA Unveils Stricter Smog Standards
Date:1/8/2010

Move would improve air quality and benefit people with asthma, heart and lung disease, among others, agency says

THURSDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed stricter standards for smog, which has been linked to a variety of health problems, including aggravated asthma and premature death from heart and lung disease.

The new standards, if adopted by the agency after a 60-day period of public comment, would replace controversial smog limits adopted during the last year of the administration of President George W. Bush that ran counter to scientific recommendations.

"EPA is stepping up to protect Americans from one of the most persistent and widespread pollutants we face," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a news release issued Thursday morning. "Smog in the air we breathe poses a very serious health threat, especially to children and individuals suffering from asthma and lung disease. It dirties our air, clouds our cities, and drives up our health-care costs across the country. Using the best science to strengthen these standards is a long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier."

According to the EPA, smog -- also called ground-level ozone -- can contribute to serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Smog can also harm healthy people who work and play outdoors.

Children are most vulnerable to health problems from ozone because their lungs are still developing, they're more likely to be active outdoors, and they're more likely than adults to have asthma. But adults with asthma or other lung diseases, and older adults are also sensitive to ozone's effect, the agency said.

Smog is created when emissions from factories, power plants, landfills and motor vehicles react in the sun. It is particularly prevale
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