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News : Local Dec 10, 2012 - 9:27:43 AM

Attorney General urging new standards on pollutants that contribute to asthma

By Attorney General George Jepsen's office

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HARTFORD, CT – Attorney General George Jepsen has joined with the Attorneys General of eight other states in urging federal regulators to adopt new standards for fine particulate matter, a type of air pollutant that contributes to respiratory symptoms and diseases, such as asthma.

“Every day, particulate matter pollution threatens the health of more than one-third of our nation’s population – particularly our most vulnerable: children, the elderly and the sick,” Attorney General Jepsen said. “A state Department of Public Health report shows 89,280 of Connecticut’s children, or 11.3 percent, had asthma in 2010, higher than the national average.”

Jepsen was joined by the Attorneys General in New York, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington in support of a new annual standard no higher than 12 micrograms per cubic meter and a daily standard not to exceed 30 micrograms per cubic meter.

Under a consent decree the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entered into with the states and several public health organizations, the agency is required to sign the final rule on a national ambient air quality standard for particulate matter by Dec. 14.

“We urge you to support EPA’s adoption of annual and daily standards for fine particulate matter that are fully protective of public health, including the health of over 100 million Americans who are most vulnerable to particulate matter pollution,” the Attorneys General wrote Thursday to the acting information and regulatory affairs administrator of The White House Office of Management and Budget.

Fine particulate matter is a byproduct of combustion of fossil fuel by power plants, motor vehicles, industrial facilities and residential heating. Because of its microscopic size, the pollutant can penetrate deep into the lungs and trigger a wide range of adverse health effects, including increased respiratory symptoms, such as asthma attacks, decreased lung function, lung disease and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

Assistant Attorney General Scott Koschwitz handled this matter for the Attorney General with Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Massicotte, head of the Environment department and Associate Attorney General Joseph Rubin.

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