Despite the health-based recommendations by career agency scientists and other experts, political appointees leading the Environmental Protection Agency during President Trump's administration rejected stronger federal standards for fine particle pollution, or soot — one of the most widespread and deadliest air pollutants in the U.S.
The fine particles can lodge in the lungs and bloodstream and are linked to asthma, heart attacks and premature death. "Agency scientists had recommended lowering the annual particulate matter standard to between 8 and 10 micrograms per cubic meter," report the Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, "citing estimates that 9 could save between 9,050 and 34,600 lives a year."
But EPA leadership decided to keep it at 12, instead. Bridgette Murray, Houston resident and founder of nonprofit Achieving Community Tasks Successfully in the Pleasantville neighborhood, says, "It is an artificially high standard that is supportive of industry. But very little is being done to help those who are exposed to that pollution on a day-to-day basis.”
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