Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | January 25, 2010

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says EPA has reduced one-hour limit on oxides of nitrogen at 100 ppb.

US EPA announced a new national air quality standard for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This new one-hour standard will protect millions of Americans from peak short-term exposures, which primarily occur near major roads. Short-term exposures to NO2 have been linked to impaired lung function and increased respiratory infections, especially in people with asthma.

EPA set the new one-hour standard for NO2 at a level of 100 parts per billion (ppb). EPA also is retaining the existing annual average standard of 53 ppb. NO2 is formed from vehicle, power plant and other industrial emissions, and contributes to the formation of fine particle pollution and smog. Earlier this month, EPA proposed to tighten the nation’s smog standards to protect the health of all Americans, especially children.

EPA is establishing new monitoring requirements in urban areas that will measure NO2 levels around major roads and across the community. Monitors must be located near roadways in cities with at least 500,000 residents. Larger cities and areas with major roadways will have additional monitors. Community-wide monitoring will continue in cities with at least 1 million residents.

Working with the states, EPA will site at least 40 monitors in locations to help protect communities that are susceptible and vulnerable to elevated levels of NO2. EPA expects to identify or designate areas not meeting the new standard, based on the existing community-wide monitoring network, by January 2012.  New monitors must begin operating no later than January 1, 2013.  

When three years of air quality data are available from the new monitoring network, EPA intends to re-designate areas as appropriate.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/air/nitrogenoxides.

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