California Tightens Smog Standards
OAKLAND, April 28 - The California Air Resources Board today adopted the nation's most stringent smog standards, which state scientists say could avert hundreds of premature deaths, thousands of hospital trips and more than 3 million school absences of asthmatic children.
Last week, Environmental Working Group issued a report, "Smoggy Schools," urging the adoption of the standards. EWG Analyst Sonya Lunder, author of the report, commented on the ARB's action today:
"The ARB has affirmed the overwhelming evidence from studies around the world that smog has serious impacts on our health, with children and asthma sufferers hit hardest. But the costs are not just to public health: Since state funding is tied to attendance, asthma-related absences cost California schools $82 million a year, and the cost to parents who must stay home with their sick kids is three times as much.
"Although the new California standards, unlike federal standards, carry no deadlines or penalties for non-compliance, they are critical goals that state and local air quality officials must commit to meeting. The U.S. EPA is conducting its own review of smog standards this year, so the new California standards will have tremendous influence. The ARB and its staff scientists have said very clearly that the current federal standard is not adequate to protect children and asthma sufferers."
The EWG report, which lists public health and other costs of smog for every count in California, is available at
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The Environmental Working Group and Environmental Working Group Action Fund are nonprofits that use the power of information to protect public health and the environment.