In the News

May 21, 2019

EPA Seeks Dramatic Change in Calculating Health Risks from Air Pollution

Efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan means less stringent air pollution standards which can decrease life expectancy
Jan Wesner Childs

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to change the way health risks from air pollution are calculated, a move that could make toxic emissions appear less deadly and clear the way for less stringent air pollution standards, according to a New York Times report.

Several people with knowledge of the EPA plan told the New York Times that using a new analytical model to calculate air pollution deaths could make it easier for the federal government to move forward with eliminating the Clean Power Plan, a key climate change rule put into place under the Obama administration.

The Trump administration has moved to repeal the Clean Power Plan and replace it with the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which would slightly improve the efficiency of coal plants but would also allow older coal plants to remain in operation longer, the Times reported.

The World Health Organization estimates that some 4.2 million people die worldwide each year due to the effects of outdoor air pollution.

A report earlier this month from the American Lung Association concluded that more than 40% of people in the United States – or 141 million people – live in areas with unhealthy air quality. In November, the newly created University of Chicago Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) found that global life expectancy had dropped 1.8 years because of an increase in air pollutants.

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