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Imperial County Meets Federal Ozone Standard

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Imperial County has met the federal standard for ozone levels for the first time. Less ozone means fewer health problems for people living there.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Imperial County meets the federal standard for ozone levels for the first time. Less ozone means fewer health problems for people living there.

The U.S. EPA says the improved air quality in Imperial County is based on three years of monitoring between 2006-2008.

Most of the ozone polluting the air in the rural county is carried there by winds from Mexico and Los Angeles. Ozone is a major element of urban smog.

Brad Poiriez is the officer for the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District or APCD. He says stricter air standards in Los Angeles and Mexico have helped clear the air in Imperial County.

"You're getting beneficial actions taken not only by the state and the local APCD, but our upwind and downwind areas as well," says Poiriez.

Ozone can reduce lung function and aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Healthy people who are active outdoors on high ozone days may experience coughing, nasal congestion and itchy eyes.

In 2008, the EPA updated the eight-hour ozone standard based on recent scientific studies. The EPA is now in the process of reconsidering the level of that standard.

The agency says emission controls will continue to be important to meet the new 2008 ozone standard in the future.

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