Smog Rules Could Have Saved Thousands of Lives Annually

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By declining to implement tougher regulations on smog last fall, President Obama rejected measures that could have saved several thousand lives a year and prevented millions of cases of asthma attacks and other acute respiratory problems, according to a new study.

Reporting in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, scientists from Johns Hopkins University said that the tougher smog rules would have prevented 2,400 to 4,100 additional deaths annually from cardiac and respiratory problems.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson was about to announce a new standard last fall that would have required a reduction in ozone concentrations from 75 to 70 parts per billion, but Obama rejected the change, saying it would have cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars for air pollution cleanup at a time of economic recession.

Johns Hopkins scientists said the tougher standards for ozone, the main lung-irritating ingredient in smog, “would result in dramatic public health benefits,” particularly in large cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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