Ensuring the highest levels of air quality and safeguarding public health remain paramount priorities for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To this end, a new and rigorous evaluation of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) has been initiated. This endeavor aims to integrate the latest scientific insights, fostering protection against hazardous pollutants and preserving the well-being of communities.

Driven by an ardent commitment to scientific rigor and health protection, EPA Administrator Michael Regan has announced this pivotal review. Drawing upon the insights of the independent Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), the EPA is poised to embark on a comprehensive reassessment of the existing NAAQS for ozone. This move builds upon the EPA’s decision in October 2021 to scrutinize the previous Administration’s stance on the ozone NAAQS.

This ongoing reconsideration has now been amalgamated into the broader review unveiled today, where the guidance and recommendations of CASAC will be pivotal in shaping the assessment. Swift and decisive actions are expected from the Agency, focused on promoting transparency, scientific integrity, inclusive public engagement, and environmental stewardship.
Administrator Michael S. Regan expressed, “Taking into account the meticulous recommendations of the independent scientific panel, I am resolute in affirming the need for a comprehensive review of the ozone NAAQS. This ensures a meticulous and transparent examination of the latest scientific advancements.” He further emphasized, “I have pledged the EPA’s commitment to uphold the independence of scientific evaluations. We will continue collaborating closely with state, tribal, and local partners to uphold our Clean Air Act responsibilities while embarking on this renewed analysis.”

The implications of ground-level ozone exposure on public health are profound, encompassing respiratory complications, aggravated asthma and lung disorders, missed work or school days, emergency room visits, and untimely deaths. These adverse health outcomes are particularly impactful on vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, people of color, and low-income households.

The forthcoming assessment equips the EPA to delve into cutting-edge ozone research, exploring its potential impacts on the existing NAAQS. The insights from CASAC and the Ozone Assessment Panel will steer this process, fostering a more comprehensive understanding.

Key forthcoming actions include:

  • 1. Publication of a Request for Information in the Federal Register shortly.
  • 2. Delivery of Integrated Review Plan, Volume 2, in the autumn of 2024 to facilitate CASAC’s evaluation and the formulation of the Integrated Science Assessment.
  • 3. Analysis of workshop outcomes in summer 2024, determining avenues for data integration in subsequent assessments, and identifying scientific domains warranting deeper analysis and enhancement.
  • 4. Issuance of Integrated Review Plan, Volume 2, in autumn 2024 to guide CASAC’s assessment and the creation of the Integrated Science Assessment.

The EPA is committed to a thorough and well-informed approach by incorporating ongoing reconsideration into a broader evaluation to advance air quality standards, prioritize public welfare, and nurture a cleaner, healthier environment.

Reference: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-initiates-new-review-ozone-national-ambient-air-quality-standards-reflect-latest-0

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