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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Phoenix area ozone actions: Fact Sheet

Phoenix Ozone Final Eate of Progress Plan

May 18, 1998

Today's action:

EPA is finding that the Phoenix metropolitan area has in place sufficient ozone control measures to meet the 15 percent rate of progress emission reduction requirement in the Clean Air Act.

Clean Air Act rate of progress requirement:

The Clean Air Act requires ozone nonattainment areas, like the Phoenix metropolitan area, to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by fifteen percent from 1990 levels by 1996. VOCs react in the atmosphere with nitrogen oxides to form ground-level ozone. Sources of VOCs include automobiles, lawnmowers and other small engines, gasoline, paints, consumer products such as hairspray, and industrial operations that apply coatings to surfaces such as printing, semiconductor manufacturing, and furniture manufacturing.

Fifteen percent plan:

EPA's finding that the Phoenix metropolitan area has in place sufficient measures to show a 15 percent reduction in VOC emissions is based on its analysis of the State's existing ozone control strategy as well as several national measures, such as emission standards for small gasoline-powered engines, that affect emissions in the Phoenix area. The State's control strategy includes the current vehicle emission inspection program, a limit on summertime gasoline volatility, the federal reformulated gasoline program, and numerous stationary source control measures adopted by Maricopa County. Overall, EPA's analysis indicates that the area will demonstrate the required 15 percent reduction by no later than mid-1999.

This action is being taken at this time to comply with a court order regarding the 15 percent plan for the Phoenix area. The court case is American Lung Association of Arizona v. Browner.

Impact of Ozone on Public Health:

Exposure to ambient ozone concentrations, even at relatively low levels, can cause respiratory symptoms such as a reduction in lung function, chest pain, and cough. Repeated exposure can make people more susceptible to respiratory infection and lung inflammation, and can aggravate pre-existing respiratory diseases.

Children are most at risk from exposure to ozone because they are active outside, playing and exercising, during the summertime when ozone levels are at their highest. The elderly and those with respiratory diseases such as asthma are also at high risk.

Long-term exposure to ozone can cause irreversible changes in lung structure, which can lead to chronic respiratory illnesses such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and/or premature aging of the lungs.

For More Information:

For more information, please call Colleen McKaughan, Associate Director, Air Division, U.S. EPA Region 9 at (520) 498-0118.

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