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Rice University analysis links ozone levels, cardiac arrest
Date:2/17/2013

ces Department.

Cohan's talk focused on uncertainties in estimating the health benefits that will result from efforts to control ozone pollution. Ozone itself cannot be controlled, he said, as it forms from several precursors. Cohan's research has shown that reducing nitrogen oxide emissions is typically the most effective way to control summertime peak afternoon ozone, but may be less effective than hydrocarbon emission reductions at other times.

Ozone standards focus on peak conditions, but some epidemiological studies show that substantial health benefits can also result from reducing ozone at other times, he said. Thus, emission-control strategies aimed solely at achieving regulatory standards may not yield as great a health benefit as strategies that reduce ozone year-round. This research has important implications as states aim to attain national ozone standards. The standards are now set at 75 parts per billion (ppb), but the EPA is considering tightening them to a level in the 60-70 ppb range.

A 2012 study by Raun and Ensor published by Rice's Baker Institute for Public Policy determined that, overall, the current EPA standard for ozone serves its purpose, while the particulate standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter does not.

"The bottom-line goal is to save lives," Ensor said. "We'd like to contribute to a refined warning system for at-risk individuals. Blanket warnings about air quality may not be good enough.

"At the same time, we want to enhance our understanding of the health cost of pollution and celebrate its continuing reduction."

The Houston Endowment and city of Houston funded the study led by Ensor, Raun and Persse. Arturo Blanco, chief of the Bureau of Pollution Control and Prevention, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, supported the research.


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Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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