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Extramural Research

A Lower Primary Ozone Standard Would Save Lives

STAR researchers published their findings in Environmental Health Perspectives on the potential health impacts of meeting the current National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and recommended standards for ozone. Johns Hopkins researchers funded in part from an EPA STAR grant, sought to quantify the potential human health benefits from achieving the current primary NAAQS standard of 75 ppb and two alternative standard levels, 70 and 60 ppb, which represent the range recommended by the U.S. EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). Hopkins researchers said that recent monitoring data show that U.S. ozone levels still exceed the NAAQS standard in numerous locations, which contribute to avoidable adverse health consequences.

The authors used health impact assessment methodologies to estimate numbers of deaths and other adverse health outcomes that would have been avoided during 2005, 2006, and 2007 if the current NAAQS ozone standards (or lower CASAC recommended range) had been met. Their estimated reductions in ozone concentrations were interpolated according to geographic area and year, and concentration–response functions were obtained or derived from the epidemiological literature.

The researchers estimated that up to nearly 8,000 annual ozone-related premature deaths could be avoided if the CASAC- recommended range of standards (70-60 ppb) had been met.

Acute respiratory symptoms could be reduced by 3 million cases and school-loss days by 1 million cases annually if the current NAAQS 75-ppb standard had been attained with even greater health benefits resulting the CASAC-recommended range of standards.

For more info on these findings: Health Benefits from Large-Scale Ozone Reduction in the United States

For more info on the EPA STAR grant that in part funded this research: Final Report: Johns Hopkins Particulate Matter Research Center

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