It’s time for tighter limits on Particulate Matter! June 23, 2020

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It’s time for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tighten up its limits on particulate matter.

Particulate matter, or PM, is one of the most widespread air pollutants—and it is dangerous.

When you inhale PM—especially the fine particles known as PM2.5—it not only damages your lungs; it also enters the blood stream and is carried to your other tissues and organs. Because of this, PM2.5 has been linked directly to leading causes of death including cardiovascular diseases; cancer; asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis; and stroke.

Increasingly strong evidence also points to a connection between PM and Alzheimer’s Disease and type II diabetes.

And the scientific literature provides no evidence that there is any safe level of PM concentration.

That’s why PSR strongly opposes EPA’s proposal to retain, without revision, the current air quality standards for PM. Instead, they should review those air quality standards—as the Clean Air Act requires them to do every five years—and set limits with an adequate margin of safety, especially for our most vulnerable populations: children, the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions, the socially disadvantaged, people of color, and tribes.


Please submit your comment to the U.S. EPA today, urging them to conduct the required five-year review of the Particulate Matter air quality standards. Note, your name (and your address if you include it) will appear on the EPA docket along with your comment.

Put this at the top of your comment: Re: Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR-2015-0072

Please draft your comment, then cut and paste it here. Here is guidance you may want to draw on. Be sure to put your comment in your own words.

  1. Are you a medical or health professional? If yes, say so.
  2. State your strong opposition to the EPA’s proposal to retain, without revision, its current inadequate standards for Particulate Matter (PM).
  3. Feel free to indicate your strong support for EPA’s mission to protect human health and well-being and the environment. Note that review and revision of the PM standards is needed precisely to protect our health.
  4. Add some of these facts about PM and health, putting them into your own words:

Particulate matter, or PM, harms our health. PM, especially the fine particles known as PM2.5, not only affects the lungs; it also enters the blood stream and is carried to other tissues and organs. Because of this, PM2.5 has been linked directly to leading death-causing diseases including cardiovascular diseases; cancer; asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis; and stroke.

The standards for PM should be set at levels that protect our most vulnerable populations: children, the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions, the socially disadvantaged, people of color, and tribes.

At a time when Covid-19 is affecting millions of Americans and over 100,000 have died, EPA should take every step possible to clean the air and protect our lungs and our health from harm. Strengthening the air quality standards for Particulate Matter is essential.

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