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EPA Considers Tougher Air Pollution Standards

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Aired 4/19/09

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to adopt California's standard for ozone levels. Ozone is a major component of smog and is linked to health problems for children and the elderly. The EPA holds the first of five nationwide hearings on the issue tomorrow in Los Angeles.  KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

Studies show that ozone at lower concentrations than current federal standards can damage lungs. The EPA's panel of science advisors has recommended a tougher national standard for ozone than the one being proposed. Debra Kelley is with the San Diego chapter of the American Lung Association . She says the EPA proposal is a step in the right direction. But Kelley says the agency should follow the panel suggestion for an even tougher standard.

Kelley: That's the standard that people like me with asthma need to have so that our airways and our lungs will not be damaged by the high levels of ozone in our air."

Kelley says about one-million people in San Diego County are at risk from high ozone levels because they have some type of breathing or heart problem. Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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