Skip to Navigation
Skip to Content
Share this page

Support PSR!

Your membership supports PSR's work to reduce global warming, eliminate toxics in our environment and abolish nuclear weapons. YOU make our work possible. Thank you.

Donate Now »

Heat Advisory: Protecting Health on a Warming Planet
by Dr. Alan Lockwood

Drawing on peer-reviewed scientific and medical research, Dr. Lockwood meticulously details the symptoms of climate change and their medical side effects.

On sale now! Enter code M17ENV25 at checkout for 25% discount.

PSR testifies for stronger ozone limits

February 12, 2010

PSR testified before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently, urging the Agency to tighten the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, NAAQS, for ground-level ozone. 

Ground-level ozone, also known as smog, is the most pervasive air pollutant in the United States.  An estimated one-third of Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone, putting this third of the population at risk for serious health problems.  

Ozone can inflame and damage the lining of the lung and aggravate chronic lung diseases.  It can also affect the cardiovascular system, aggravating pre-existing heart conditions and increasing the risk of heart arrhythmias and heart attack. Thus, people who suffer from asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease or hardening of the arteries need to be protected from ozone exposure. 

The EPA proposes to lower the primary limit for ozone to between 60 and 70 parts per billion. 
PSR contended that even the lower level of this range is inadequate to protect vulnerable populations.

PSR’s testimony was presented by Barbara Gottlieb, deputy director for environment and health, in the EPA’s public hearing in Arlington, VA and by Harry Wang MD, president of the Sacramento, CA PSR chapter at a similar hearing in Sacramento.  

PSR based its position on the very studies cited by the EPA in preparing the proposed rule.  The EPA reviewed studies conducted on healthy young people, non-smokers, with limited prior exposure to ozone, who in experiments were exposed to ozone, then tested for pulmonary function.  The studies showed that at the lowest level the EPA is now considering, subjects experienced statistically significant reduction in lung function. 

PSR called on the EPA to adopt a more stringent standard, sufficient to protect the health of all Americans, including the most vulnerable.  The vulnerable population includes children, particularly those with asthma; adults with chronic respiratory or cardiovascular diseases; and populations with genetic susceptibilities to ozone. 

PSR also urged the Agency to make the time frame as short as possible for implementation of the proposed rule, noting that every delay affects the health of Americans.

Ozone is formed when gases including nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and methane combine in the presence of sunlight and heat.  Coal-fired power plants and motor vehicles are the main sources of smog-forming pollutants.   

Action Alerts

  • Tell the EPA: Don't delay methane protections

    Tell the EPA: don't delay the proposed rule to capture leaking methane gas. Our health and the health of the climate cannot wait!

  • Tell Congress—defend the Clean Air Act against Big Oil!

    President Trump, his new EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, and some in Congress are attempting to block or weaken clean air and climate protections like the Clean Power Plan. Tell your member of Congress to support full implementation of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Power Plan.

More action alerts»

Resources

  • Video: Fracking - Too Dirty, Too Dangerous

    Former executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Catherine Thomasson, MD, presents findings from PSR's report "Too Dirty, Too Dangerous: Why Health Professionals Reject Natural Gas". It is based on summaries of recent medical and scientific studies which clearly convey the health threats that accompany use of methane as a fuel. Read more »

  • Webinar: The Fight for Solar

    Solar energy is one of our best hopes for a clean energy future – yet some utility companies are trying to stifle the spread of rooftop solar. Learn more about the fight for rooftop ("distributed") solar. Read more »

  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Fact Sheet

    RGGI has significantly reduced air pollution from fossil fuel power plants, improving the health of people living in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. Read more »

In the Spotlight

  • November 30, 2016
    Eating for Climate and Health
    PSR's new PowerPoint presentation on how climate change impacts food production, and agriculture's contribution to climate change.