Atlanta Sees Air Quality Progress but More Action Still Needed

Media Contacts

Environment Georgia

Atlanta—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Dec. 2 that Atlanta is meeting 1997 8-hour ozone standards. In 2011, Environment Georgia released Danger in the Air, a report that called on the EPA to set a National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ground-level ozone within the range of 60 to 70 parts per billion averaged over eight hours. This more protective standard was unanimously recommended by the independent board of air experts and scientists created under the Clean Air Act to provide periodic review and recommendations on air quality standards. 

Environment Georgia’s Jennette Gayer released the following statement in response to the EPA’s announcement:

“We applaud Atlanta for meeting this air quality standard but, urge continued vigilance and action to truly protect Atlantans from the dangers of air pollution. So, while this progress is good news the bad news is recent studies have shown that a much more protective standard is needed.

All Georgians should be able to breathe clean air. But pollution from power plants and vehicles puts the health of our children and families at risk. Ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, is one of the most harmful and pervasive air pollutants. Studies show that on days with high concentrations of smog pollution in the air, children and adults suffer more asthma attacks, increased respiratory difficulty, and reduced lung function. Exposure to smog pollution can exacerbate respiratory illness and even cause premature death. Sensitive populations including children, the elderly, and people with respiratory illness are particularly at risk of the adverse health effects of air pollution.”