On November 27, 1996, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Carol Browner announced a plan to impose new national air quality standards. Specifically, the proposal to alter the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) calls for more severe restrictions on ground-level ozone and microscopic dust particles, called particulate matter (PM). The EPA must decide by July 19 of this year whether or not to alter the current standards. If implemented, the new standards would put into place the most massive, far-reaching environmental mandates of the decade. But because the proposed standards are backed by weak science, there is an enormous degree of uncertainty as to whether the measures would produce the promised results.
If the EPA’s new clean air standards are enacted, states, cities, and counties across the country would be required to come up with ways to meet the new standards. The likely targets for regulation would be numerous due to the many activities that produce some degree of ozone or particulate matter. These targets likely would include industries and small businesses that produce everything from electric power to food; to paper, rubber and plastic products; to minerals, textiles, electronics and machinery; to even dry cleaning, painting, and construction. Automobiles and trucks, motorcycles, motorboats, fireplaces,1 lawn mowers, and snow blowers, which, combined, contribute more particulates than business and industry,2 all would be potential targets for regulation.
The effects of the new air quality standards on the economy would be devastating, and the impacts would be vast. The EPA estimates that more than 500 counties would be classified as nonattainment areas for either the new ozone or particulate matter standard, or both, and that at least 100 million individuals would be affected.3 Job loss would be significant, and prices on everything from gasoline, to the monthly electric bill, and the weekly grocery bill would increase dramatically. The EPA places the cost — on top of $45 billion to $50 billion a year from the current provisions of the Clean Air Act4 — at between $6.5 billion to $8.5 billion a year.5 Other studies place the cost much higher. The Regulatory Analysis Program (RAP) at the Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University, for example, estimates the costs for the ozone standard alone would be between $54 billion and $328 billion a year, while the costs for the particulate standard are estimated to be as high as $55 billion a year.6
Administrator Browner says the harsh standards are needed to protect children, asthmatics, and other victims of respiratory illness from bad air. She says that the new regulations would prevent 15,000 premature deaths, 9,000 hospital visits, 60,000 cases of bronchitis, 250,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 250,000 cases of acute childhood respiratory complications.7
If we knew the proposed standards would produce these benefits, the requirements might be justified. But there is no indication the plan will even come close to achieving the stated goals. Even assuming the new standards were achievable, there is no adequate scientific basis to support the EPA’s claims that these substances cause severe illness and mortality. Even the EPA’s own science panel, the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC), concluded that much more study is needed.8
The fact of matter is that, by all accounts, the air we breathe is getting cleaner. As the EPA itself reports, the air is 30 percent cleaner than it was 25 years ago, even though the number of people and vehicles on our roads has sharply risen. EPA specifically lists ground-level ozone and particulate matter among the emissions that have been reduced over the last decade.9
The EPA’s proposal is too hasty a response at this time based on our limited scientific knowledge. Allowing more time for the scientific study of ozone and PM will ensure that we are focusing limited resources on those health threats that pose the greatest risk to the well-being of our children.
Background on the New Standards
Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to review NAAQS every five years and to consider possible revisions. In February 1994, the American Lung Association sued the EPA in an effort to speed up the agency’s review of air quality standards and enforce the five-year review.10 Under pressure from the court to reach a quick decision, the EPA accelerated its review of the stricter standards for ozone and PM, giving far less time to the review process than it usually gives to new proposed standards. Despite recommendations by the EPA’s science advisory council, CASAC, that the agency devote more time to study, Administrator Browner announced her plan for more stringent measures. Browner must decide on July 19 — after reviewing the more than 25,000 public comments the EPA received — whether or not she will implement the tighter standards.11
If the EPA decides to release a rule with stringent new standards, the agency, along with the states, would set up new monitors and collect the data to determine which regions are in nonattainment. Once determined, states will be required to write state implementation plans (SIPs) by the year 2000 for ozone and by 2002 for particulate matter. The SIPs will detail how the states intend to meet the standards and bring regions into attainment.12
Ozone, or smog, is formed by a chemical reaction involving heat, sunlight, and gases. These gases include oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted by natural and man-made sources. Particulate matter refers to tiny dust particles that cannot be seen by the naked eye. As defined by the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators (STAPPA) and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO), particulate matter is “a broad class of substances that occur throughout the atmosphere, originate from a variety of sources, and have different effects on human health and the environment as well as different chemical and physical properties.”13
The proposed standards would limit ozone concentrations from the current standard of 0.12 parts per million (ppm) over a one-hour average, to 0.08 ppm over an eight-hour average. For particulate matter, the proposed rule would retain the current standard for particulate matter of 10 microns (PM10) or less in diameter, while adding a new standard for fine particles 2.5 microns or less in diameter (PM2.5). PM2.5 refers to dust particles so tiny that 28 of them would fit on the width of a strand of hair.
The Impact of a Zero Standard: Living Life in a Bubble
How attainable are the new standards? Set close to zero, not very. Many industrial activities release either fine particulate matter, ground-level ozone, or both. So do citizens — by driving cars, mowing lawns, dry-cleaning clothes, and burning wood in living room fireplaces. All of these actions contribute to ozone or PM2.5 emissions. To prevent these substances from being released into the atmosphere, we would literally have to stop these — and many more — activities. As Arnold Rightsy, environmental law professor at George Washington University, told National Public Radio, unless cities are “willing to do truly massive lifestyle changes — giving up automobile use to a large extent — they will probably never meet the standard.”14 Similarly, Daniel B. Menzel of the University of California at Irvine, an expert on air pollution and toxicology, told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at a recent public hearing: “Particulate matter seems to be a common result of human concentration in urban areas. To eliminate all of the particulate matter in our cities would, in my view, be only possible by the elimination of all human activity.”15
Even if we stopped all human activity, as Professors Rightsy and Menzel suggest would be needed, we still may not meet the new standards. This is because a surprising amount of ozone and tiny particulates are created naturally. Certain types of trees and other vegetation, for example, contribute to ozone levels, particularly at warm air temperatures. The National Research Council, the science research organization run by the National Academy of Sciences, estimates that in some cities, naturally-contributing ozone alone can exceed the current NAAQS concentration requirement of 0.12 ppm.16 Similarly, natural soil erosion contributes millions of tons of PM2.5 a year, or more than 9 percent of all PM2.5 emitted.17
Sources of PM2.5. STAPPA and ALAPCO, the state and local air pollution control offices, in their report Controlling Particulate Matter Under the Clean Air Act: A Menu of Options, list the many activities that release the largest amounts of PM2.5. Surprisingly, by far the largest source of PM2.5 — 83 percent — is “fugitive” dust, which is caused by roads (paved and unpaved), agricultural crops and livestock, and natural soil erosion. Figure 1 shows the percentage of emissions from various categories that contribute to PM2.5.18
Manufacturing and industrial activity as a percentage of total emissions is surprisingly low at only two percent. Equally surprising is the fact that residential wood burning is one of the single leading contributors. Together with other residential activities that cause fuel combustion, these activities contribute as much as five percent of all PM2.5 emissions.
Figure 1: PM2.5 Emissions by Source Category
Source: STAPPO and ALAPCO.
But even though industry contributes a relatively small portion of all PM2.5 emissions, this source will be a primary target for reductions (see Figure 2: Industry Targets).
Figure 2 Industry Targets
State and local air pollution controllers list the following industries among the recommended targets for curbing PM 2.5:
iron & steel
lead manufacturing (from both direct ore production and from recycling materials)
Wood, pulp, & paper production
paints & varnishes
soaps & detergents
Grain handling & processing
grain & feed mills
Many smaller business operations will also become targets for reduction of either ozone or tiny particulates, or both. Gas station owners, for example, will become immediate targets. Many could be required by state or local governments to replace current gasoline pumps with new pumps that capture fumes, and recycle them back into underground storage tanks. One supplier of equipment for gas stations in Indiana put the cost per station at $30,000 to $80,000, depending on the number of pumps to be converted.19 Large gas station operators would most likely find a way to pass the cost onto the consumer, while small gas station operators may be forced to close their doors (see Figure 3: Small Business Targets).
Figure 3 Small Business Targets
The following includes the types of small business operations that could become targets of policy actions by state or local governments forced to meet the new standards:
Auto repair and paint shops
Individual lifestyles and activities would potentially be curbed as well, by new restrictions on ozone and particulate matter. Automobiles would be immediate and obvious targets. New requirements could include more frequent and severe auto emission inspection tests, mandated carpooling, and costly reformulated gasoline requirements.20 Other limitations could be placed on the use of fireplaces, lawn mowers, household paints, and motorboats21 (see Figure 4: Consumer Behavior Targets).
Figure 4 Consumer Behavior
The following lists the types of consumer activities that state or local governments may be forced to restrict to meet the new standards:
more stringent emissions testing programs
Snow blowers, leaf blowers
Fireplaces, wood stoves, & woodheaters
The decision over what sources are to be regulated will be resolved by the states and it is, therefore, difficult to know the precise regulatory burden. The states will need to determine which regulations are needed in order to comply with the standards. While industrial centers will more than likely target utilities, manufacturing companies, and other industrial sources, other areas that don’t have large industry will be forced to target other sources. In rural areas, for example, livestock and other farming operations are likely to be targeted. Small towns and counties may be forced to target local construction and dry cleaning operations. Still other jurisdictions may find they have to include restrictions on consumer behavior in order to come into compliance.
Administrator Browner insists that restrictions on consumer behavior will not occur. But other senior level federal officials are not convinced. Responding to an interagency review, the assistant secretary for the Department of Transportation wrote, “Control measures needed to meet the standards could have significant economic impacts on industry, including previously unregulated businesses, and require lifestyle changes by a significant part of the U.S. population.”22
Burning issue. The STAPPA and ALAPCO report also includes recommendations for state and local officials that would curtail activities now considered customary. For example, its recommendations for limiting “residential wood combustion” (fireplaces, wood stoves, wood heaters, and coal-fired appliances), include among others, the following:
“Establish an episode curtailment program … a communication strategy to implement the plan; a surveillance plan; and enforcement provisions such as procedures, penalties, and exemptions. A voluntary program will be deemed reasonable if the area is one that demonstrates attainment.”
“Provide inducements that would lead to reductions in the stove and fireplace population or use by slowing the growth of wood burning devices in new housing units by imposing taxes, installation permit fees, or other disincentives.”
“Ban the resale or installation of uncertified wood heaters.”
“Regulate the wood moisture content of wood fuel by requiring the use of dry or seasoned wood.”
“Develop an offset program, whereby homeowners may only receive a residential wood combustion permit if they replace an existing device or if two existing devices are retired for every new device installed.”
“Ban coal use in residential wood combustion devices.”
“Charge an emissions fee in dollars per gram for certified levels.”23
Inconsistent with Administrator Browner’s insistence that accustomed lifestyles will not be altered is the fact that STAPPA and ALAPCO based many of their recommendations on EPA studies, including one that attributes residential wood burning with “decreases in lung capacity and increases in asthma attacks[.]”24
In parts of the country (Denver, Reno, and Scottsdale), wood burning fires in homes are already against the law during most of the winter season.25 And areas in Northern California may not be far behind. The Sacramento Bee reported that “many Northern California air regulators are eyeing fireplaces as one of the few places where significant reductions in fine-particle pollution can be gained.”26
In addition to fireplaces, other prime targets are “two-stroke engines” (lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, shredders and tillers, welders and compressors, and boats and other recreational vehicles). According to the STAPPA and ALAPCO report, these products account for 12 percent of all non-road engine sources of particulates, more than four-stroke engines contribute.27
Some areas struggling to meet the current standards have already banned the use of some of these appliances. In Maricopa County, Arizona, the Maricopa Association of Governments last January approved a list of 61 measures in an effort to meet the EPA’s current standards. The federal agency had recently lowered the county’s status from “moderate” to “serious.” Among the 61 restrictions is a ban on gas-powered lawn mowers and garden equipment. As Larry Morrison, a city councilman and head of the association explains, “Such a cut is pretty steep, and every little measure will help.” Responding to the public anger against the new measures, he concedes, “Any time you change a person’s lifestyle, it’s difficult.” But despite the 61 restrictions, local officials are already concerned that even these may not be enough to meet the 1990 Clean Air Act requirements, let alone the proposed new standards.28 In addition to possible restrictions on the use of two-stroke engines, manufacturers of two-stroke engines and appliances are likely to be regulated at the production stage, hiking up the price of these products considerably.29
California, here we come? Other measures that could be required in order to meet the standards are already occurring in certain areas of the country. California, which notoriously “leads” the rest of the country in environmental regulation,30 provides a preview of where the rest of the country could be headed if these new standards become law.
Policies adopted earlier this year by the South Coast Air Quality Management District board to “scrub the skies” of particulate matter in Southern California require that all cities and counties within a region purchase new sweepers with vacuums or filters to remove dust from all paved streets. Many of the 4,600 miles of unpaved streets will have to be paved. And new measures will go into effect that restrict when farmers can grind their hay. Farmers will also have to come up with plans to reduce soil erosion, and construction workers will have to use more water or soil stabilizers. Other regulations will be put into place that reduce dust from mines and landfills. The estimated cost? As much as $10.6 million a year, with local governments picking up 83 percent of the cost. Of that amount, businesses — construction companies, mines, utilities, and farmers — will pay an estimated $1.8 million a year.31
The economic impact of the new standards would be immense and devastating. Two-thirds of the country, facing a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” proposition, would have to come up with plans on how to implement the new standards by the year 2002, and meet full compliance several years later32 or stand to lose millions of dollars in federal highway funds.
The EPA projects that as many as 335 counties will be designated nonattainment areas with the new ozone standards C up from 106 counties currently in nonattainment — and that the number of counties that don’t meet the PM standard will quadruple, from 41 currently, to 168.33
States, cities, communities, and businesses all would be hit hard. The economic impact will be overwhelming. Most jurisdictions, still grappling with the current requirements of the Clean Air Act, will be crippled by the additional burden. Ohio Governor George Voinovich (R) predicts the ozone standards alone will cost his state $760 million a year ($263 a family),34 resulting in only partial attainment. He also estimates the standards will raise the average electric bill between 2.3 percent and 17.4 percent, terminate a total of 58 new road construction projects at a loss of $2.3 billion, and kill as many as 970,000 manufacturing jobs a year.35 Projections such as these have prompted numerous letters from governors and U.S. representatives throughout the country, concerned about how states are going to be able to afford the new standards. For example, one letter to Administrator Browner from U.S. Senators Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), Wendell H. Ford (D-KY), John Glenn (D-OH), Charles S. Robb (D-VA), and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) reads, “[T]hese new rules are proposed in addition to a growing number of new clean air standards that are proposed or will be implemented in the next few years. Because of this, states find themselves caught in a perpetual motion regulatory machine. … [W]e should first complete the implementation of all other air rules, before adding yet another extremely costly and complex layer to these regulations.”36
Cities and counties would also suffer from the standards’ effects on the local economy. Urban areas, forced to require businesses to purchase costly air pollution prevention equipment, would find it increasingly difficult to prevent businesses from fleeing the cities. Such threats to critical revitalization efforts in many inner cities are driving city officials to urge Administrator Browner to reconsider her clean air proposal. “The concern is that if … the rules are going to be ratcheted down to the point where development cannot really occur … that is going to contribute in the mind of many to increased urban sprawl,” said a spokeswoman for the National Association of Counties.37 And, “One of our major concerns is the increasing intrusion of the federal government into decisions with respect to local land use planning, and the distinctly anti-growth bias of many federal environmental mandates,” said Mark Schwartz, president of the National League of Cities, before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.38
Perversely, regions of the country already under severe regulatory burdens to meet existing standards see the proposed tighter standards as an opportunity to seal the escape routes of businesses without regulatory problems fleeing to other regions. California and the Northeast, for example, may see benefits in raising the costs of their rivals. As Jack Kyser of the Los Angeles Economic Development Council says, “[The new regulations] will level the playing field in some sense because now businesses will not be inclined to flee to less-stringent states.”39 Rather than develop a rational approach to environmental concerns, some in California and the Northeast prefer to cast a wider net of regulations, imposing costs on other regions without regard to any potential health benefits that may or may not be generated.
Businesses — ranging from the manufacturing plants that employ thousands of workers, to the local dry cleaning business, to the farmer — will also be enormously impacted. Despite Carol Browner’s refusal to acknowledge the severity of the consequences, other federal agencies within the Clinton administration have voiced serious concerns with the impact the measures will have on enterprise. As Jere Glover, the chief counsel for advocacy at the Small Business Administration, writes in a letter to Carol Browner: “… EPA [states] that the revision of the ozone NAAQS will not have a ‘significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.’ Considering the large economic impacts suggested by EPA’s own analysis that will unquestionably fall on tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of small businesses, this would be a startling proposition to the small business community.”40
EPA cost estimates are far lower than the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). The EPA estimates that the costs of complying with both the ozone and PM2.5 requirements would range between $6.5 billion and $8.5 billion a year, with ozone requirements costing up to $2.5 billion a year.41 But other studies show these numbers grossly understate the true costs. For example, a study on the cost impact of ground-level ozone conducted by the California-based Sierra Research Inc., for the American Petroleum Institute, estimates that in Chicago and surrounding areas the new ozone standards alone could cost up to $14 billion a year.42 Another study conducted for the local chamber of commerce on the impact for the same area places the cost at up to $17 billion a year.43
EPA spokespersons dismiss these projections as not credible, claiming they’re derived for industry and used as scare tactics. But Carol Browner fails to mention that even President
Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers found that the EPA’s projected costs vastly underestimate the true costs: “Costs [for the ozone standard] are high, and the Regulatory Impact Analysis understates the true costs of stricter standards by orders of magnitude.” The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that the costs would be as high as $60 billion a year.44 A more recent study by RAP at the Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University places the costs for ozone even higher, between $54 billion and $328 billion a year, and $55 billion a year for the PM2.5 standard.45
How could the EPA’s estimates be so low by comparison? One significant reason is that the agency did not estimate the cost of achieving full attainment of the ozone and particulate matter standards, even though they assumed full attainment when calculating benefits.46 Other errors in estimating costs include wrong assumptions, as well as the omission of important and costly aspects of the new standards. Again, the Council of Economic Advisers said: “Due to an apparent error in the projection of emissions deficits, the validity of EPA’s cost estimates is uncertain.”47 Other federal agencies, after reviewing the proposed standards as part of the interagency review process, also found errors with the cost projections. In a memo submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), an official at the Department of Transportation writes, “[The EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis] excludes transportation control measures [TCMs]. These may be the most costly elements of further emissions reductions. What would be the national cost or area cost of implementing these TCMs? Since traditional TCMs are geared toward work trips, what other measures would be effective in reducing vehicle emissions over larger nonattainment areas?”48
Costs far exceed benefits. The enormous economic costs of the standards might be justified if the resulting benefits proved to be greater. However, studies show this would not be the case. For ozone, estimated costs far exceed estimated benefits. In fact, as Senator John Chafee (R-RI), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a longtime advocate of environmental policies, wrote, the EPA’s own studies projected this discrepancy: “Concern that changes to the standard will come at high cost without commensurate public health benefits is reinforced by EPA’s draft Regulatory Impact Analysis for the new
standard. The draft report indicates that the costs to attain the standard may substantially outweigh the public health benefits.”49 More specifically, President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers estimates that the ozone standards would actually produce a net benefit of negative $10.6 billion to negative $59.8 billion after including benefits.50
Regarding particulate matter, Administrator Browner says benefits would be as high as $120 billion as a result of reduced medical bills and fewer days missed from school and work. But when questioned on her figures and assumptions, Browner responds, “I think the science is clear and convincing[.]”51 It is not. As her agency’s Regulatory Impact Analysis pointed out: “The uncertainty associated with the benefits estimates are substantial. In particular, benefit estimates vary greatly depending [on which study is used].”52
Despite these statements from the EPA’s own internal reviews, Carol Browner has refused to permit the EPA to conduct an official analysis on cost-benefits. She asserts that as the Clean Air Act is written, clean air standards are to be driven by health issues, “not a cost-benefit analysis.”53
The new standards, however, would lead to the imposition of real costs and real loss of jobs to real people. The enormous financial burdens that will result from the standards should not be so readily dismissed. Again, as Administrator Browner’s own Regulatory Impact Analysis states: “The consideration of cost and … cost-benefit analyses, provides a structured means of evaluating and comparing various implementation policies, as well as a means of comparing the variety of tools and technologies available for air pollution control efforts. The Agency has found the use of such analyses to be of significant value in developing regulatory options over the years.”54 Given the EPA’s own recognition of the importance of cost considerations, costs should not be ignored at this point in the process.
Where’s the Science?
Ozone.55 Carol Browner’s new ozone standard sets a near zero-risk probability. She asserts the harsh standards are needed to protect the public from respiratory problems caused by exposure to ground-level ozone. But studies indicate that public health is not jeopardized by ozone unless it is in concentration levels more than four times the current standard. The Clean Air Science Advisory Committee, an EPA-appointed science advisory board required by law to review EPA policy recommendations based on scientific review, concluded that “there is no ‘bright line’ which distinguishes any of the proposed standards (either the level or the number of allowable exceedances) as being significantly more protective of public health.”56
The studies on which the EPA based its recommended ozone policy show a direct correlation between the degree of exercise activity at greater concentrations of ozone and lung function among the participants. The question is how much lung function declined, at what concentration levels, and how permanent or temporary were the respiratory effects? The studies show that participants doing light to moderate exercise at high ozone concentration levels (meaning more than twice the current 0.12 ppm standard — in most cases, at least four times the current standard) experience only “mild” responses to lung function. Even those doing heavy exercise only showed a mild response until ozone concentration levels increased by more than twice the current standard. In all but severe situations (“severe” occurred at concentration levels far more than twice the current standard), these conditions were reversible; participants returned to normal in less than 24 hours.57
Should we be concerned about “mild” responses? CASAC told the EPA we should not. The panel said mild responses are not medically significant and should not be considered an adverse health effect. Furthermore, they said the responses are reversible; individuals do not suffer either from illness or from decreased life expectancy.58 Despite these findings, the EPA believes it is justified in enacting the new standard.
Even at high concentration levels, studies show that 20 percent of the population does not experience any adverse respiratory effects.59 Even the five to 20 percent of the population
believed to respond adversely to the current standard level for ozone do not experience any problems unless engaged in abnormally heavy exercise;60 and these responses are reversed once the individual stops strenuous exercise. Senator Chafee reiterated this point to Carol Browner: “[A] modest and reversible decrease in lung capacity for people engaging in moderate to heavy exercise outdoors on a limited number of days each year is not associated with illness or decreased life expectancy. Many would question reliance on this adverse effect if it is to be a principal justification for a more stringent standard.”61
Finally, even the response among individuals with asthma or chronic lung disease,62 or healthy individuals exposed to heavy ozone concentrations for longer periods of time (six or more hours), does not show any statistical difference from those tested in the above-mentioned studies.63
In fact, reduced levels of ozone could actually lead to increased deaths. The latest research on ozone shows that reduced levels may actually produce adverse health effects. A report published in a recent issue of Environmental Science and Technology finds that the reduction of ground-level ozone actually increases human exposure to damaging ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation. The authors estimate that a decrease in ozone concentration of 0.10 ppm leads to “increases in cancers and cataracts valued at $.29 billion to $1.1 billion annually.”64
New standard needed for ozone? The EPA reports that ozone levels are falling. Between 1986 and 1995, levels dropped as much as nine percent. Moreover, the number of nonattainment areas has declined from 98 to 66 since the 1990 Clean Air Act went into effect.65
These findings, as well as the conclusions reached by CASAC, prompted Senator Chafee to write in a draft letter to Carol Browner that, “The number of adverse health effects avoided by moving an area from attaining the current standard to attaining the proposed standard does not appear significant, particularly when compared with the overall number of similar adverse health effects that are attributable to all causes.”66
PM2.5. Compared to the health effects of ozone, which scientists have been studying for years, we know much less about the health effects of particulate matter, especially the microscopic dust particles referred to as PM2.5. This is because monitoring data on PM2.5, unlike other air pollutants, simply does not exist at this time.
Administrator Browner frequently says that the EPA relied on the best available science in reaching the proposed new standards, citing 86 studies.67 What she fails to mention, however, is that only a few of these studies examine the actual effects of PM2.5.68 The other studies examine the effects of the larger substance PM10 (the particulates regulated under the current standard) or even larger particulates (referred to as total suspended particulates).
Two of the five studies that look specifically at the effects of PM2.5 conducted primary research; the other three derived their conclusions from the primary research. It is these two studies in particular that EPA officials relied heavily on to justify a new standard. One, produced out of Harvard University, is nicknamed the “Six Cities” study.69 The 16-year study monitored the air quality and the health of 8,069 adults living near coal-burning power plants in six U.S. cities. The researchers found what they considered to be a “statistically significant” correlation in three of the six cities. They concluded that people living in the most polluted city had a 26 percent greater chance of dying prematurely than those living in non-polluted cities. The second study, commissioned by the American Cancer Society, studied the health effects of PM2.5 in 50 cities, using data on 295,000 people. The results suggested a 17 percent higher death rate among residents of the most polluted areas.70
How significant are these findings? Do they indicate that the fine particles create a serious health hazard? How solid is the research? How scientific is their approach? And if the science is solid, are less than a handful of studies enough evidence to justify more regulatory burdens on top of the current clean air standards that much of the nation is currently struggling to meet? Or, should more time be given to further study to learn the true health effects of particulate matter at 2.5 microns or less?
Scientists who reviewed these studies have found serious problems with the research and methodology. The following outlines the major problems:
(1) The studies fail to prove an actual causal relationship between PM2.5 and premature morbidity. When two types of data appear to move in the same direction — in this case, PM2.5 levels and mortality rates — it does not necessarily follow that one is caused by the other. One witness, testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, used the example of heat-related deaths and ice cream cone sales. While there may be a strong correlation between the two (i.e., ice cream cone sales may increase as heat-related deaths increase), it would be absurd to suggest that increased ice cream cone sales cause increased heat-related deaths. Rather, there is another factor altogether that is affecting both outcomes.71
In fact, even the correlation — referred to as a “statistical association” — between PM2.5 levels and the risk of mortality was extremely small, ranging between 17 and 26 percent. Risk probabilities as small as 26 percent are considered to be insignificant among epidemiologists. According to the National Cancer Institute: “[Risks of less than 100 percent] are considered small and usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to chance, statistical bias or effects of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident.”72 Even epidemiologist Douglas Dockery, one of the authors of the “Six City” study, concedes that these are “very weak effects.”73
(2) The studies did not control for various confounding factors. A biological mechanism does not exist. None of the studies have been able to show a consistent human biological response to tiny particulates. In other words, there is no clinical evidence showing a causal effect.80 Even the EPA, in its Criteria Document on PM, states that “no credible supporting toxicological data are yet available.” They conclude: “There is … a paucity of information … that argues for the biologic plausibility of the epidemiological Scientists suggest that certain elements (referred to as confounding factors) that were not accounted for in the studies could have biased the results. Again, Douglas Dockery, co-author of the Harvard University study said, “The potential for bias from confounding factors or variables we didn’t measure is certainly very large in these studies.”74
The confounding factors not accounted for that could have biased the results include the following:
Possible cases in which individuals participating in the study had a medical history of chronic respiratory disease or other terminal illnesses.
Possible cases in which participants had a history of cigarette smoking.
Varying lifestyles and diets among participants.
Varying income levels among participants.75
Possible effects of indoor air.76
Possible humidity in the air.77
In order to look more closely at the possible effects of some of these confounding factors on the participants, a number of scientists have recently sought to re-examine earlier studies on particulate matter by adjusting for other variables. One example is a study conducted by five scientists with the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, a research organization based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Using the same data from an earlier study on particulate matter that found more people tend to die when air pollution is at its highest levels,78 they found the same results until they included humidity as a variable. By including humidity in the analysis, they found that there was not a “statistically significant” correlation between mortality and particulate matter levels (PM10, in this particular study).79
(3) A biological mechanism does not exist. None of the studies have been able to show a consistent human biological response to tiny particulates. In other words, there is no clinical evidence showing a causal effect. Even the EPA, in its Criteria Document on PM, states that “no credible supporting toxicological data are yet available.” They conclude: “There is … a paucity of information … that argues for the biologic plausibility of the epidemiological results.”81 Given the weakness of the statistical association, it is imperative that more research into biological mechanisms be undertaken before adopting the new standards.
(4) We do not know from the studies the degree to which people were exposed to PM2.5. Because the researchers used citywide data to reflect population exposure to PM2.5, instead of using individual exposure data, the studies assume that all people living within a city would receive equal exposure. We know this cannot be correct. It also ignores the effects of indoor air exposure and the fact that people spend varying amounts of time outdoors.
Because we don’t know how much exposure individuals had to the tiny particulates, “one cannot determine [from the study] if individuals with higher personal exposure to PM2.5 tended to have higher mortality rates than those with lower personal exposure.”82 In other words, we have no way of knowing at what point exposure to PM2.5, if any, leads to deteriorating health. This observation prompted one expert testifying before the Senate Committee to conclude that, “The dose-response relationship is at the heart of the risk assessment. In both the particulate matter and ozone standard the dose-response relationship is only poorly understood. Consequently, estimates of risk are also uncertain.”83
(5) The researchers made errors in measuring PM2.5. Because data on PM2.5 is limited, the researchers in most cases had to calculate, rather than measure, PM2.5 levels. By deriving the levels in this manner, the studies opened themselves up to significant probability for error. Again, Dr. Menzel stated: “Because … PM2.5 values are calculated and not measured, it is very difficult to place the heavy weight of evidence on this ultra-fine particle range as EPA has done in its criteria document.”84 The EPA, too, is aware of the dangers of such calculations. In its Criteria Document, the EPA states that “much caution is warranted with regard to derivation or extrapolation of quantitative estimates of increased risks … based on available epidemiology information.”85
PM is an extremely complex material, made up of many different components. Based on the limited data available and weak science, how would we even know what to control for and what to target? Dr. Suresh Moolgavkar, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, makes this point by asking the following: “If two individuals, one who ingested sugar laced with strychnine and one who took sugar laced with cyanide, dropped dead, would we blame the sugar?”86 Stated another way, how do we know the new PM2.5 standard will produce any of the promised benefits? As Dr. Anne Smith says: “Until we know which of the hypotheses to believe, we run the risk of controlling particles that don’t significantly harm the public health. And, we run the risk of not controlling particles that do create a public health hazard.” And: “The state of science leaves a reasonable chance that the proposed PM2.5 standard would not generate any significant benefits at all. In such a situation, it is also reasonable to consider whether there are more effective ways of protecting the public health.”87
For example, the new standards don’t address the fact that breathing indoor air is considered to be more of a health threat for most people than breathing outdoor air. The EPA itself notes that “a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.”88
“Uncertainties” voiced by CASAC and the EPA. The bottom line is that there are too many uncertainties among scientists over the health effects of PM2.5. Even among the EPA’s own science advisory group, CASAC, there was a “diversity of opinion” that, as chairman George T. Wolff wrote, “reflects the many unanswered questions and uncertainties associated with establishing causality of the association between PM 2.5 and mortality[.]”89 While 19 of the 21 members voted for a new PM2.5 standard, 17 rejected a standard as low as the one Administrator Browner recommended. In conclusion, the chairman wrote that deadlines for review did not give the CASAC scientists a sufficient amount of time “to analyze, integrate, interpret, and debate the available data on this very complex issue. Nor does a court-ordered schedule recognize that achieving the goal of a scientifically defensible [new standard] may require iterative steps to be taken in which new data are acquired to fill obvious and critical voids in our knowledge.” As he noted, the review of the standards that established the current PM levels took over eight years to review.90
Questions and doubt also prompted the president’s budget request for 1998 to include $26 million for the EPA “to reduce the great uncertainty about PM’s health effects.” Yet this lack of assuredness blatantly contradicts Administrator Browner’s statements that: “We have a cause — air pollution. We have an effect — aggravated asthma, respiratory problems, and premature
death. So why wait? We have enough to go on — study after study — again, all thoroughly debated and peer-reviewed — showing that stronger standards will protect millions more Americans from adverse health effects.”91
Where’s the data? Despite Administrator Browner’s statements, most experts believe, without question, that more study needs to be given to PM2.5. Unfortunately, past attempts to re-evaluate the data used in the two studies the EPA relies most heavily on to justify the new standards (the “Six Cities” and American Cancer Society studies) have been halted by the authors’ refusal to release the underlying data. Despite efforts that began three years ago when CASAC asked the EPA to obtain the “crucial data sets linking exposure to particulate matter and health responses,” the researchers have never turned over the information.92
Earlier this year, following requests from the Utility Air Regulatory Group for the data via the Freedom of Information Act, the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Mary Nichols wrote a letter to the authors requesting that they turn the data over to “interested parties as rapidly as possible,” given the “strong interest in your research.”93 The researchers wrote back to Ms. Nichols explaining that they were planning to give the data to the Health Effects Institute, an organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that is conducting a larger study on the health effects of particulate matter. But according to the Institute, they never received the information.94
In early April, the Harvard University researchers announced that they have asked the Health Effects Institute to organize a panel of impartial scientists to review the data. Representatives of the Institute, however, have not yet decided whether or not to accept the offer. They raised the concern that there may not be enough time between now and July 19 to review the data.95
In the meantime, scientists and Congressmen96 who have requested to see the data are still being denied. The Harvard authors claim that the law prevents them from releasing personal information on those who participated in the study. However, the Department of Commerce responded that data could still be provided as long as any personal information was blocked out.97
Where do we go From Here? Options Available to Congress
Because the new standards for ozone and PM2.5 lack scientific justification based on present knowledge — as stated by the EPA’s own scientific panel, as well as most other federal agencies — and because there is no indication the standards would come close to producing the stated results, the EPA’s best policy at this time is to hold to the current standards and conduct more research on the health effects of ground-level ozone and PM2.5.
The EPA has until July 19 to announce its final decision. Between now and that time, by law the EPA must review the thousands of comments it received during the public comment period, November 28 through March 12.
Members of Congress, in addition to holding oversight hearings,98 writing letters to Carol Browner voicing opposition to the new standards, and holding press conferences and town hall events to educate their constituencies, have at their disposal a number of legislative vehicles they can use in an attempt to prevent the new standards from being enacted until we know if there is an actual link between these substances and morbidity and mortality.
The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA). SBREFA was enacted last year by the 104th Congress and requires all federal agencies to conduct a review of the impact proposed rules would have on small businesses. Agencies must form a review panel to assess the impact rules would have on this sector and take measures to minimize the adverse impacts. The law also permits small businesses to sue federal agencies that don’t follow the review process.
In a letter to Carol Browner sent earlier this year, Senators Kit Bond (R-MO) and Dale Bumpers (D-AK) — co-sponsors of the 1996 SBREFA legislation — wrote that the EPA had broken the law by not abiding by the requirements of SBREFA to conduct a review on the standards’ economic impact on small business.99 Carol Browner insists that SBREFA requirements don’t apply to the new clean air measures until the implementation stages of the process. She holds that the law doesn’t apply at this point because the EPA is only adopting standards, not enforcing regulations.
Other federal agencies disagree. For example, the Chief Counsel for Advocacy at the Small Business Administration wrote Administrator Browner that, “We urge the agency to rethink its position, and convene a small business advocacy review panel as required by the new Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act … [S]BREFA does apply to this rulemaking.”100
The EPA’s new standards on ground-level ozone and PM2.5 would create the most far-reaching — and possibly most costly — set of air quality standards of the decade, imposing economic hardships and mandating lifestyle adjustments.
If we knew the standards would produce the results the EPA promises — to save thousands of premature deaths — the requirements might be justified. But we don’t. There is little evidence that these specific substances are causing the health problems the EPA claims. In fact, some studies show that enacting the proposed measures could actually be harmful to our health.
We are currently witnessing enormous improvements in the quality of the air we breathe, including the areas of ground-level ozone and particulate matter. As more jurisdictions continue to fall into compliance with the current standards, we can expect air pollution to continue to decline. Before the EPA moves forward to enact these requirements, it should heed the recommendations of its scientific advisory council, and take more time to conduct scientific study to learn about the health effects of these substances.
1 Residential wood burning contributes more PM2.5 emissions in the U.S. than electric utilities. See State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrator (STAPPA) and Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO), Controlling Particulate Matter Under the Clean Air Act: A Menu of Options, July 1996, p. 5.
2 Business and industry does not include agriculture. STAPPA and ALAPCO, July 1996, pp. 48-9.
3 U.S. EPA, Office of Air & Radiation, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Fact Sheet, Tables I. and II., http://22.214.171.124/naaqspro/o3list.htm
4 John J. Fialka, “Provo, Utah, Provides Combatants in Clean-Air Fight,” The Wall Street Journal, November 25, 1996.
5 Kevin Galvin, “EPA Proposes Strict New Air Quality Standards,” The Associated Press, November 27, 1996.
6 Regulatory Analysis Program, Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University, Comments on the Proposed National Air Quality Standards for Ozone and Particulate Matter, March 12, 1997, p. 2.
7 The Bureau of National Affairs, “EPA Fact Sheets on Proposed Rule on National Air Quality Standards Issued November 27, 1996,” Regulation, Economics and Law Text, November 29, 1996.
8 See letter to Carol Browner from Dr. George T. Wolff, Chair, Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), June 13, 1996.
9 U.S. EPA, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, National Air Quality and Emissions Trends Report, 1995, October 1996, p. 1.
10 American Lung Association v. Browner, Arizona District Court, No. 93-643 TUC.
11 At the request of the EPA, the Arizona district court granted the agency a three-week extension; the original court-ordered date for the final rule was June 27.
12 Final plans would be required for ozone by the year 2000 and PM2.5 by 2002. U.S. EPA, “EPA Proposes Air Standards for Particulate Matter and Ozone,” Environmental News, November 27, 1996.
13 STAPPA and ALAPCO, July 1996, p. 4.
14 National Public Radio’s, “Morning Edition,” Transcript no. 96112801-210, November 28, 1996.
15 Testimony of Dr. Daniel B. Menzel before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; Clean Air, Wetlands, Private Property and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, February 5, 1997.
16 Kenneth Chilton and Christopher Boerner, “Smog in America, Integrity of Air Quality and Public Health,” Society, July 1996, Vol. 33, No. 5.
17 STAPPA and ALAPCO, July 1996, pp. 5 and 57.
18 STAPPA and ALAPCO, July 1996, pp. 48-9.
19 Jeff Kurowski, “Proposed Ozone Standards Put a Dark Cloud Over Much of Michiana,” Tribune Business Weekly, South Bend, Indiana, December 23, 1996.
20 For more on the EPA’s policy on fuel standards, see Joel Bucher, “Is the U.S. Heading for a National Fuel Standard?” CSE Foundation, Issue Analysis, No. 35, July 23, 1996.
21 STAPPA and ALAPCO, July 1996, pp. 48-9.
22 Letter from Frank E. Kruesi, assistant secretary for transportation policy, Department of Transportation, to Sally Katzen, administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), November 10, 1996.
23 STAPPA and ALAPCO, July 1996, pp. 221-2.
24 See U.S. EPA, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, A Summary of Emissions Characterization and Non-Cancer Respiratory Effects of Wood Smoke, December 1993.
25 Rebecca Jones, “A Measure of Doubt,” The Rocky Mountain News, January 19, 1997; Mary Jo Pitzl, “Plans Throw Water on Wood Fireplaces,” The Arizona Republic, November, 10, 1996; Dale Vargas, “Fireplaces Kindle Air Pollution Concerns And Controls,” Sacramento Bee, November 28, 1992; The Washington Post, “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Ire,” March 16, 1995.
26 Chris Bowman, Sacramento Bee, December 7, 1997.
27 STAPPA and ALAPCO, July 1996, p. 113.
28 Mary Jo Pitzl, “61 Ways To Improve Valley’s Air Okayed,” The Arizona Republic, January 30, 1997.
29 STAPPA and ALAPCO, July 1996, p. 114.
30 California has the toughest environmental regulations law in the country. In six years, for example, 10 percent of all automobile production must meet a zero tailpipe emissions standard.
31 Marla Cone, “AQMD Rule Makes Dust-busting a Must,” Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1997; and Gary Polakovic, “Smog Laws Turn to Dust: Pollution Cuts To Cost Cities,” The Press-Enterprise, February 15, 1997.
32 U.S. EPA, Environmental News, November 27, 1996.
33 U.S. EPA, Office of Air and Radiation, Fact Sheet, Tables I. and II.
34 1990 Census Bureau data: 2,895,223 families in Ohio.
35 Alec Zacaroli, “Groups Fear Air Rules Will Hamper Economic Development in Urban Areas,” Daily Report for Executives, March 21, 1997.
36 Letter to Carol Browner from Sens. Byrd, Ford, Glenn, Robb, and Rockefeller, March 4, 1997.
37 Alex Zacaroli, Daily Report for Executives, March 21, 1997. See also, letter to Carol Browner from coalition of state and local government groups, December 19, 1996. These groups expressing concern with the proposed standards include the Council of State Governments, International City/County Management Association, National Association of Counties, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors’ Association, National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
38 Testimony of Mark Schwartz, president, National League of Cities, before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, March 3, 1997.
39 Daniel B. Wood, “Heat Rises Over Clean-Air Proposal,” The Christian Science Monitor, November 29, 1996.
40 Letter to Carol Browner from Jere Glover, Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Small Business Administration, November 18, 1996.
41 Kevin Galvin, “EPA Proposes Strict New Air Quality Standards,” The Associated Press, November 27, 1996; and Alec Zacaroli, “Costs of Ozone Standard May Outweigh Benefits, EPA Impact Analysis Concludes,” Daily Report for Executives, December 1996.
42 Sierra Research Inc., et. al., Socio-Economic Study of Possible Eight-Hour Ozone Standard, June 4, 1996.
43 Jim Ritter, “Costly Clean-Air Plan: EPA Seeks To Cut Deaths,” Chicago Sun-Times, November 28, 1996.
44 Council of Economic Advisers Comments on Ozone Standards, Draft, Alicia Munnell, Member, Council of Economic Advisers, December 13, 1996.
45 Regulatory Analysis Program, Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University, Comments on the Proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone and Particulate Matter, March 12, 1997.
46 Comments submitted by the Council of Economic Advisers say, “The Clean Air Act requires all areas to eventually come into full compliance with the standards. [F]or these reasons, both partial-attainment and full-attainment costs are important. EPA does not present full-attainment cost estimates in the RIA.” CEA Comments on Ozone Standards, Draft, December 13, 1996. For more on these concerns by other federal agencies, see comments written by the Office of Management and Budget, Department of Commerce, and Department of Transportation.
47 See above.
48 Memorandum to the OMB from the Department of Transportation, December 18, 1996.
49 Letter from Senator John Chafee (R-RI) to EPA Administrator Carol Browner, Draft, December 10, 1996.
50 CEA Comments on Ozone Standards, Draft, Table 14, December 13, 1996.
51 Sean Holton, “EPA Airs Toughened Standards,” Chicago Tribune, November 28, 1996.
52 U.S. EPA, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Regulatory Impact Analysis for Proposed Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standard, November 4, 1996, pp. 10-14, in Testimony of Dr. Anne E. Smith before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, February 5, 1997.
53 Sean Holton, November 28, 1996..
54 U.S. EPA, “Regulatory Impact Analysis for Proposed Particulate Matter NAAQS”, Draft Document, December 1996.
55 For more on the studied health effects of exposure to ground-level ozone, see Kenneth Chilton and Stephen Huebner, “Has the Battle Against Urban Smog Become ‘Mission Impossible’?” Center for the Study of American Business, Policy Study #136, November 1996.
56 Testimony of Dr. George T. Wolff before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, February 5, 1997.
57 M.J. Hazucha, “Relationship Between Ozone Exposure and Pulmonary Function Changes,” Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 62, 1987, pp. 1671-80, cited in Chilton and Huebner, November 1996.
58 Kenneth Chilton and Christopher Boerner, July 1996.
59 Lawrence J. Folinsbee et al., “Respiratory Responses to Repeated Prolonged Exposure to 0.12 ppm Ozone,” American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine, Vol. 149, 1994, p. 99, in Kenneth Chilton and Stephen Huebner, November 1996.
60 U.S. EPA, National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone, Proposed Decision, Federal Register, Vol. 57, No. 154, August 10, 1992, p. 35548, in Chilton and Huebner, November 1996.
61 Sen. Chafee, draft letter to Browner, December 10, 1996.
62 Kenneth Chilton and Christopher Boerner, July 1996.
63 Donald H. Horstman, Lawrence J. Folinsbee, Phillip J. Ives, et. al., “Ozone Concentration and Pulmonary Response Relationships for 6.6-Hour Exposures with Five Hours of Moderate Exercise to 0.08, 0.10, and 0.12 ppm,” American Review of Respiratory Disease, Vol. 142, No. 5, November 1990, pp. 1158-63, cited in Chilton and Huebner, November 1996.
64 Randall Lutter and Christopher Wolz, “UV-B Screening by Tropospheric Ozone: Implications for the National Ambient Air Quality Standard,” Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 31, No. 3, 1997.
65 U.S. EPA, National Air Quality and Emissions Trends Report 1995, October 1996.
66 Sen. Chafee, draft letter to Browner, December 10, 1996.
67 The Bureau of National Affairs, “EPA Fact Sheets on Proposed Rule on National Air Quality Standards Issued November 27, 1996,” Regulation, Economics and Law Text, November 29, 1996.
68 Letter to Carol Browner from Dr. George T. Wolff, Chair, CASAC, February 1996: “[T]he agency does not adequately justify the selection of PM2.5 as the best surrogate measure for the causative agent. Most of the epidemiological studies did not use PM2.5 as a measure. Most used PM10 or total suspended particulates, which are only roughly correlated with PM2.5, and therefore do not allow one to conclude that PM2.5 is the causative agent or indeed that any specific component of the PM10 is the causative agent.”
69 D.W. Dockery, J. Schwartz, C.A. Pope, Xu X, J.D. Spengler, J.H. Ware, M.E. Fay, et. al., “An Association Between Air Pollution and Mortality in Six U.S. Cities,” New England Journal of Medicine, 1993, Volume 129, pp. 1753-9.
70 C.A. Pope, M.J. Thun, M. Nambooriri, D.W. Dockery, J.S. Evans, F.E. Speizer, C.W. Heath Jr., “Particulate Air Pollution as a Predictor of Mortality in a Prospective Study of U.S. Adults,” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 1995, Volume 151, pp. 669-74.
71 Testimony of Dr. Anne E. Smith, before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, February 5, 1997.
72 Steven J. Milloy and Michael Gough, “The EPA’s Clean Air-ogance,” The Wall Street Journal, January 2, 1997.
73 John Merline, “Clean Air Rules Under Attack,” Investor’s Business Daily, December 11, 1996.
74 John Merline, December 11, 1996.
75 Dan Greenbaum, president of Health Effects Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and hired by the EPA in 1994 to analyze the data from the “Six City Study”: “You might find that there is a big difference in socioeconomic status between people in the least polluted city and the most polluted city, and they may not have fully controlled for that.” Scott Allen, “Clean-air Researchers Pressured To Show Data,” The Boston Globe, March 4, 1997; and John Merline, December 11, 1996.
76 People spend more time indoors than outdoors; but, air pollution from indoors is believed by scientists to be more damaging than air pollution from outdoors. See “The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality,” http://www.medaccess.com/pollution/con_poll2.htm. Also, see Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, Public Comments Before the Environmental Protection Agency, March 12, 1997, p. 4.
77 While the researchers did include weather as a factor, they did not account for humidity.
78 The study re-evaluated the findings of Joel Schwartz, a co-author of the “Six City Study,” in a previous study he conducted on the effects of PM10 on people living in Birmingham, Alabama.
79 J.M Davis, J. Sacks, N. Saltzman, R.L. Smith, P. Styer, “Airborne Particulate Matter and Daily Mortality in Birmingham, Alabama,” National Institute of Statistical Sciences, Technical Report #55, November 1996. For more on their findings, see Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation’s Comments to the EPA, March 12, 1997.
80 According to CASAC, there is a “lack of direct biological or clinical evidence support[ing] a causal relationship.” McGraw-Hill, Inc., “Finding Rare Common Ground, Public and Private Power Interests,” Inside F.E.R.C., April 1, 1996.
81 U.S. EPA, Air Quality Criteria for Particulate Matter, April 1996, in testimony of Dr. Anne E. Smith before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, February 5, 1997.
82 Kenneth G. Brown, A Critical Review of NRDC’s Report, in David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, “Clean Air: A Nation Choking Itself on Ever-Tightening Standards,” Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, February 1997, p. 8.
83 Dr. Daniel B. Menzel, testimony, February 5, 1997.
84 Dr. Daniel B. Menzel, testimony, February 5, 1997.
85 U.S. EPA, Air Quality Criteria for Particulate Matter, April 1996, in testimony of Dr. Anne E. Smith before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, February 5, 1997.
86 Gary Polakovic, “Something is Killing Americans,” The Press-Enterprise, July 14, 1996.
87 Testimony of Dr. Anne E. Smith, before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, February 5, 1997.
88 “The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality,” http://www.medaccess.com/pollution/con_poll2.htm. Also, see Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation’s Comments to the EPA, March 12, 1997.
89 Letter to Carol Browner from Dr. George T. Wolff, Chair, CASAC, February 1996.
90 Letter to Carol Browner from Dr. George T. Wolff, Chair, CASAC, February 1996.
91 Bonner R. Cohen, “Browner Hangs Tough on New PM/Ozone Standards,” EPA Watch, March 14, 1997.
92 John Merline, “EPA’s Case of the Missing Data,” Investor’s Business Daily, February 21, 1997.
93 Letter from Mary D. Nichols to Dr. C. Arden Pope, III, January 31, 1997.
94 John Merline, February 21, 1997.
95 Scott Allen, “Harvard Seeks Review of Study on Emissions,” Boston Globe, April 10, 1997.
96 Specifically, House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley (R-VA) has requested to see the data. National Journal’s, “Congress Daily,” April 9, 1997.
97 Congress Daily, April 9, 1997.
98To date, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has held three hearings. More hearings in both the House and Senate are expected before July 19.
99 Congressional Press Releases, “Consider Impact on Small Business,” January 8, 1997.
100 Letter from Jere Glover, November 18, 1996.