Will US EPA’s new method erase pollution deaths?

Outdoor air pollution kills 4.2 million people every year, according to the World Health Organization

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Tuesday 21 May 2019
 Will US EPA’s new method erase pollution deaths. Photo: Getty Images

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to exclude thousands of deaths from pollution from the records, alleged the New York Times. The agency's new method to calculate air pollution-related health risks may benefit the current Donald Trump administration in diluting green norms.

The newspaper cited five people who knew about the "agency's plan".

Outdoor air pollution kills 4.2 million people every year, according to the World Health Organization

Trump has been known to be a climate-change sceptic despite 'climate action' being one of the sustainable development goals mandated by the United Nations.

The new methodology proposed by EPA will assume that cleaning the air further than what the law mandates now will yield little or no health benefit, the NYT reported. The approach was flagged by experts for not being scientifically sound.

Daniel S. Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute, a non-profit research said it is very unfortunate of the Trump government to move ahead without a scientific peer review of the proposed methodology.

Further, Trump's plan to do away with the Clean Power Plan, enacted under former President Barack Obama and replace it with the new Affordable Clean Energy rule that limits the regulations for controlling CO2 emissions from already existing power plants, could result in higher levels of particulate matter.

A previous research had showed that there are no safe levels of the fine particulate pollution.  It can pass through the lungs into the bloodstream and cause premature deaths by heart attacks, strokes and respiratory disease.

The new rule would lead to an additional 1,400 premature deaths per year, according to EPA's own analysis. But, the new methodolgy would significantly reduce that number and help Trump administration to weaken air pollution laws, NYT reported.

On the other hand, William L Wehrum, the EPA air quality chief, asserted that any new methods would be subject to peer review before being used as primary tool for measuring health risks. He also said that attention given to the analysis is unfortunate.

The new methodology would appear in the agency’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, which is expected to be made public in June, NYT reported.

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