EPA Issues First Draft Ozone Criteria Document, January 31, 2005

In the first major step toward reviewing the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, the U.S. EPA has published a draft criteria document for public comment and peer review.

The 1,800 page document reviews and evaluates over a thousand new scientific studies on the health and environmental effects of ozone that have been published since EPA’s last review in 1996.

“Newly available epidemiological data linking acute ozone exposure to respiratory-related mortality and to the exacerbation of respiratory-related disease symptoms suggest even larger health impacts an costs to society than previously demonstrated,” the document concludes.

“Epidemiological studies have reported positive associations between ozone exposure and health effects across a range of endpoints, from respiratory-related mortality, increased respiratory-related hospital admissions, and emergency department visits, to more subtle effects such as decrements in lung function, lung inflammation, airway responsiveness, and altered mucocilliary clearance. The new toxicologic and physiological evidence suggest links to potential molecular pathways that may provide reasonable explanations for the observed epidemiological findings, but…caveats must be considered in interpreting these studies.”

The document is available from EPA [www.epa.gov/ncea] online. Hard copies or CD-ROM versions may be requested from Ms. Diane Ray, at 919-541-3637, or by email: ray.diane@epa.gov.

Public comments must be submitted by May 2, 2005 to EPA’s docket [epa.gov/edocket]. Comments may be submitted electronically to the edocket. Select “search” and key in the Docket Number ORD-2004-0015.

Public comments will also be entertained at a meeting of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) meeting in early May 2005. Submit your request to testify to Fred Butterfield at EPA: Email: butterfield.fred@epa.gov.