Thursday, March 23, 2006

Science Advisors to EPA: Reconsider Your Weak Particle Soot Proposal


(Washington, DC, March 23, 2006) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s science advisors have officially asked EPA Administrator Steve Johnson to reconsider the agency’s proposed national air quality standards for particle soot.

In a March 21 letter, the advisors noted that EPA had proposed a weaker national health standard for particle soot than the advisors had previously recommended.
Scientific studies have shown health damage when people breathe air that EPA would consider healthful, the advisors noted.

“This is an unprecedented public rebuke to EPA by its independent panel of science advisors,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of the non-profit Clean Air Watch.

“Particle soot is the most lethal air pollutant in the nation. This letter underscores our concern that EPA’s proposal was tainted by politics and economic considerations, when it should have been based on science,” O’Donnell added.

The advisors took EPA to task on several major issues, including:

Urging the EPA to set a tougher standard to govern a person’s annual exposure to fine-particle soot;

Faulting the agency for exempting mining and agriculture from standards for bigger soot particles; and

Urging EPA to monitor particle pollution in both urban and rural areas.

“The next step is up to EPA Administrator Steve Johnson,” said O’Donnell.

“Will he stand up and do the right thing – and pay attention to his own science advisors? Or will he continue to bow to political pressure from the White House?”

The entire letter is available at the Clean Air Watch website at

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