Tuesday, March 26, 2013

EPA Finds California South Coast air basin meets health standard for coarse particulate matter

The US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to find the California South Coast air basin in attainment for the coarse particulate matter standard (PM10). EPA is also proposing to approve the state's maintenance plan that demonstrates how the area will continue to achieve the standard for at least the next ten years.

The finding is based on PM10 data collected since 2008 that shows the South Coast air basin meets the 150 micrograms per cubic meter federal particulate standard established in 1987. This milestone was achieved by implementing control measures to reduce dust from paved and unpaved roads, certain livestock activities, gravel operations and wood burning.

This is a significant achievement in the South Coast air basin's ongoing effort to reduce air pollution. It will take that same kind of commitment to also reduce fine particle pollution and smog.

-Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest

Particle pollution is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets in the air. EPA's proposal deals with coarse particulates that range from 2.5 to 10 micrometers. Fine particulates range up to 2.5 micrometers. The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Exposure to particle pollution is linked to a variety of significant health problems, ranging from aggravated asthma to premature death in people with heart and lung disease.

The EPA requires three years of clean data prior to proposing to find an area in attainment. The data are reported to the EPA from the South Coast air district's official air monitoring network. The network consists of 23 monitoring sites from Santa Clarita to Banning, operated in accordance with the EPA's regulations and guidelines to ensure precision and accuracy.

EPA is also proposing to approve the state's maintenance plan that demonstrates continued achievement of the PM-10 standard for at least ten additional years. This plan includes control measures already adopted by the state and local air district.

EPA is providing a 30-day public comment period on this proposed action.


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