On January 27, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published an updated soot pollution standard. This begins an important comment period for Americans to make clear we need much stronger soot pollution limits than this proposed standard.
While the EPA proposed strengthening the standard, the proposal it released does not go nearly far enough and fails to meet the recommendations of the agency's own scientific advisory panel. These standards haven't been updated since 2012 and it's time for President Biden's EPA—led by Administrator Michael Regan—to set the strongest science-based soot pollution standards (no higher than 8 mcg/m3 annual and 25 mcg/m3 daily), to ensure cleaner air for families, advance environmental justice, and protect our health.
The EPA welcomes public input through the submission of comments to the rule-making docket. This is why we need you to make your voice heard.
Please sign and show your support for strengthening the standard for soot pollution standards!
To: The Environmental Protection Agency
I am writing today to highlight the devastating impact of toxic soot pollution harming millions of Americans. The Biden administration has proposed an inadequate standard that fails to meet the recommendations of the agency's own scientific advisory panel. President Biden and his EPA must act swiftly and boldly to finalize the strongest possible science-based soot pollution standards that will ensure cleaner and safer air for families, advance environmental justice, and protect our health.
Soot pollution – also known as particulate matter, or PM 2.5 – poses a special danger for the most vulnerable people in our communities: kids, seniors, and people with chronic illnesses.
These particles are microscopically small – about 1/36th the size of a grain of sand – and can be inhaled into our lungs and delivered directly to our bloodstream. Exposure to soot is linked to many health risks and chronic conditions, including asthma, heart disease, COPD, Parkinson's disease, dementia, low birth weight, greater risk of preterm birth, and higher rates of infant mortality.
Soot pollution affects millions of people each year. According to the American Lung Association, 63 million Americans each year are exposed to repeated short-term spikes in soot pollution, and more than 20 million Americans suffer dangerous levels of soot pollution on a year-round basis. And again, it is vulnerable, low-wealth communities and people of color who are most exposed to this pollutant and most harmed by our failure to curb it.
The current standards for soot pollution haven't been updated since 2012 and are insufficient to protect our health or the environment. With stronger, updated limits on soot pollution (i.e. no higher than 8 mcg/m3 annual and 25 mcg/m3 daily), the EPA can save nearly 20,000 lives each year. And in communities of color, communities that are often overburdened by pollution, a stronger soot standard is expected to at least partially close some of the well-known racial disparities in health outcomes. Finally, by tightening soot protections, other dangerous pollution from these sources will also be reduced. The EPA must take bold action if we are to meet the president's commitments to cut dangerous pollution and protect our health and environment.