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Lawsuit: EPA Pollution Standards Leaving Us Breathless

December 18, 2006

Washington, DC - According to a federal lawsuit, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new particle pollution standards are too lax and risk endangering children, seniors and people with asthma and other lung problems. The suit calls on the federal agency to strengthen standards for things like soot, smoke and airborne metals.

The American Lung Association was one of the groups filing the lawsuit. Spokesperson Janice Nolen says stronger standards are needed because the pollutants aggravate asthma, slow the growth of children's lungs, and take months and even years off the life of seniors.

"The most important change would be to clean up the coal-fired power plants, especially in the Ohio area where some of the large polluting plants are still located."

In addition to coal plants, Nolen says certain types of diesel engines and factories are main sources of particle pollution.

The EPA administration says the new 2006 standards are an improvement over previous rules. David Baron with Earth Justice claims the agency failed to improve standards for some of the most dangerous airborne pollutants.

"It ignored the advice of the American Medical Association and of its own science advisers. In our view, that violates the Clean Air Act, which requires EPA to protect public health with a margin of safety."

The lawsuit was filed jointly by the American Lung Association, Environmental Defense, Earth Justice, and the National Parks Conservation Association.

Rob Ferrett/David Law, Public News Service - OH