EPA cloudy on smog standards

For the first time in a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency is recommending tougher limits on ground-level ozone—the most significant component of smog.

EPA administrator Stephen L. Johnson recently announced that current pollution standards do not protect people from the air they breathe. Johnson recommended reducing the current standard of .084 parts per million to between .070 and .075 parts per million, although the agency’s Clean Air Advisory Committee advises a standard no higher than the lower number.

The EPA opened up public comment on the matter—a process several groups, including the American Lung Association, have criticized. At issue is the EPA’s consideration of keeping the standard at its current level, although officials claim to be seeking suggestions for even further reductions as well.

Ozone is known to harm the lungs and enhance the symptoms of asthma.