Ignoring recommendations from its own scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opted Tuesday not to strengthen standards on industrial soot emissions. Fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers, referred to as PM 2.5, poses especially high health risks because it can be deposited deep in the lungs. A first-of-its-kind study from Harvard published last week found that long term exposure to PM 2.5 made someone more likely to die from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Morgan Folger, Clean Cars Campaign director for Environment America, issued the following statement:
“At a time when America is experiencing a respiratory virus pandemic, it defies logic that our federal government is deciding not to tighten air pollution standards. Especially given the growing evidence that Americans experiencing poor air quality are at heightened risk of dying from COVID-19.
“Even before COVID-19, the data clearly showed that America’s existing air quality standards weren’t doing enough to protect our health. Instead of foregoing its responsibility and mission to protect our health and the environment, EPA should listen to the scientists and strengthen soot protections.”