The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the strictest health standards to date for smog. Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease, the EPA says.Â
The agency is proposing to replace the standards set by the previous administration, which many believe were not protective enough of human health. The EPA will propose to set the primary standard, which protects public health, at a level between 0.06 and 0.07 parts per million measured over eight hours.
The EPA is also proposing to set a separate secondary standard to protect the environment, especially plants and trees. This seasonal standard is designed to protect plants and trees from damage occurring from repeated ozone exposure, which can reduce tree growth, damage leaves and increase susceptibility to disease, the agency says.
The EPA will take public comments for 60 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register and will hold three public hearings.