New US clean air standards for PM2.5

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December finalised an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5), setting the annual health standard at 12 micrograms per cubic metre to be met by 2020.

The standard was proposed in June (see AN 4/12) and is consistent with the advice from the agency’s independent science advisors. EPA estimates the health benefits of the revised standard to range from US$4 to 9 billion per year, with estimated costs of implementation ranging from US$53 to 350 million.

By 2030, it is expected that all standards that cut PM2.5 from diesel vehicles and equipment alone will prevent up to 40,000 premature deaths, 32,000 hospital admissions and 4.7 million days of work lost due to illness.

Source: EPA press release, 14 December 2012
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