November 21, 2020 – SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra posted a comment on Friday as part of a multi-state coalition calling on the Trump administration to reopen its coalition Review of the National Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate pollution taking into account new scientific evidence that further confirms that current standards are not appropriate to protect public health. Particulate pollution is already known to be linked to premature mortality and many serious public health problems, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory effects and cancer. In the five months since the coalition submitted comments urging the Trump administration to strengthen standards, scientists have released additional studies highlighting the need to reduce exposure to particulate pollution, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic , continue to occupy.
“One study after another has shown the dangers of particulate pollution, especially for our most vulnerable populations.” said Attorney General Becerra. “As COVID-19 continues to spread, the need to strengthen these standards becomes even more urgent – any other decision will cost lives. We urge the Trump administration again to heed science. “
Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA must set NAAQS for several pollutants, including particulate matter. The standards need to be set at a level that protects public health, safety and well-being. The EPA must then review and revise the standards every five years if new information shows that the existing standards are inadequate. EPA regulations reduced annual PM2.5 concentrations by 39 percent between 2000 and 2018. Yet science shows that more protection is needed. Since the last EPA review, new science has made it clear that exposure to particles has serious health effects, even at levels below current standards. The EPA staff agreed with these conclusions.
In today’s comment, the coalition highlights new studies further forcing the EPA to strengthen the NAAQS on particulate pollution. A recent long-term study of the effects of particulate matter on neurological disorders in older Americans found an increased risk of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and related dementias based on long-term exposure to particulate matter, even at levels below current national standards. Several studies published since June have found associations between increased mortality from COVID-19 and exposure to particles. With the COVID-19 pandemic unchecked, it is more urgent than ever that the EPA set standards that will protect the lungs and reduce mortality from respiratory diseases. Not only are steps needed to protect those battling COVID-19, but also to protect survivors of the disease who are suffering from long-term health consequences.
Attorney General Becerra is filing the supplementary comment with attorneys general of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
A copy of the comment can be found here.
Source: CA. DOJ