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GASP Lauds EPA’s New, More Stringent Air Quality Standard for Fine Particulate Matter

The sun is shining in winter in Pittsburgh and we have great news to share! No, you are not dreaming.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a press release earlier today announced it will lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) from a level of 12 micrograms per cubic meter to 9 micrograms per cubic meter.

In less mathematical terms, that means the more stringent standard will better protect America’s families, workers, and communities from the dangerous and costly health effects of fine particle pollution, also known as soot.

The EPA expects that the change will prevent up to 4,500 premature deaths and 290,000 lost workdays, yielding up to $46 billion in net health benefits in 2032.In addition, for every $1 spent from this action, there could be as much as $77 in human health benefits in 2032, according to the EPA.

“Frankly, it will save lives,” GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell said. “The EPA should be applauded for making good on its commitments to prioritize environmental justice and public health.”

You can check out the entire EPA news release here.

GASP expects that other aspects of the new rule will start to address historic inequities and injustices, including cleaning up the air in communities of color, fenceline communities, and lower-wealth areas already overburdened by pollution. 

Editor’s Note: GASP staff is reviewing the new rule - stay tuned, we’ll have an explainer soon!

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