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ATS Testifies at EPA Hearing in Support of More Protective PM Standards
In February, members of the ATS participated in a virtual public hearing hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency to collect public input on the agency’s proposal to revise the current National Ambient Air Quality Standard for particulate matter pollution. The EPA is considering replacing the current standard of 12 ug/m3 annual with a more protective standard of 9 or 10 ug/m3 annual while retaining the current daily standard of 35 ug/m3. The ATS recommends a more protective standard of 8 ug/m3 for the annual standard and 25 ug/m3 for the daily standard.

During the EPA hearing, ATS Environmental Health Policy Committee member Franziska Rosser, MD, commented, “…as a pediatric pulmonologist practicing in a county with high particle pollution, I find the EPA’s proposed revisions to be inadequate to protect my patients and my community members. I reside in Allegheny County PA, a county known to have higher particle pollution and also known to have childhood asthma prevalence above the national average. In my county, we have few days which exceed a PM2.5 AQI of 101, with most days either in the Good or Moderate ranges. Please note these categories are below the current 24-hour PM2.5 standard of 35 𝜇g/m3. Despite having mostly Good and Moderate days, there is evidence of health harm in my community.  I, along with my co-authors, recently published a retrospective time-stratified case-crossover analysis of emergency department visits for childhood asthma exacerbations, where we found an association between AQI and childhood asthma emergency department visits even within the moderate range. 

“For the health of my patients and the health of my community, I urge the EPA to adopt a standard which provides adequate protection. Specifically, I urge the EPA to set a primary PM2.5 standard of 8 𝝁g/m3 and a 24-hour standard of 25 𝝁g/m3.”

The deadline for submitting comments on EPA’s proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standard for particulate matter pollution is March 28.  The ATS will be submitting written comments on the proposal.
Last Reviewed: March 2023