Establishing a more stringent ozone standard would reduce ozone-related premature mortality and morbidity, states news study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. "Abundant evidence links exposure to ozone with adverse health effects, including impaired pulmonary function, asthma exacerbations, increased hospital and emergency room visits, and increased mortality, yet the current National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 75ppb is often exceeded," said lead author Jesse Berman, a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Our study shows that adhering to the current standard would result in a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality and, furthermore, that applying even more stringent ozone standards would result in even greater reductions."
The research was supported in part by an American Thoracic Society research contract to Mr. Berman.
Using national ozone monitoring data for 2005-07 and concentration-response data obtained or derived from the epidemiological literature, the authors applied health impact assessment methodology using the Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program (BenMAP) to estimate the numbers of deaths and other adverse health outcomes that would have been avoided during this time period if the current eight-hour average ozone standard (75ppb) or lower standards had been met.
"The EPA''s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee has recommended adoption of an ozone standard in the 60 to 70 ppb range," said Mr. Berman. "Our analysis shows that implementing such a lower standard would result in substantial public health benefits."