VIENNA, VA, OCT. 1, 2015 – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strengthened National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to protect public health. The new standard – 70 parts per billion of ozone in the air, down from 75 – will require stricter limits for emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the primary agents that produce ozone when mixed with sunlight.

“Ozone is a potent lung irritant and exposure to elevated levels is especially dangerous for people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma,” says Tonya Winders, president and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network. “The standard of 70 parts per billion is a step in the right direction – air quality alerts based on the previous ozone standard often misled the public by indicating that pollution levels were safe when such levels can be harmful. However, the new standard does not go far enough. The scientific evidence supports 60 parts per billion to be most protective of children’s health, especially those with asthma.

“The Network will breathe easier when we know the air is safe for every American. We thank EPA for their hard work and look forward to continued air quality efforts.”

EPA will update the Air Quality Index – available at – to ensure people are notified when air quality is unhealthy. The index provides information about levels of local air pollution and the precautions people should take to protect themselves when air pollution poses a threat to public health.

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