According to EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, recent research on the adverse health effects of airborne fine particles supports EPA’s recommendation that the agency’s air quality standards for fine particles be strengthened.

The science advisors reviewed EPA’s draft policy assessment, titled “Policy Assessment for the Review of the Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards: First External Review Draft,” which recommends that the agency strengthen those standards. The March 2010 draft policy was prepared as part of a periodic review of the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for particulates.

The draft policy recommends that the agency revise the annual standard in a range between 12 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) and 13 ug/ m3 while retaining the existing 24-hour standard of 35 ug/m3 or revising it in a range between 30 ug/ m3 and 35 ug/m3. The current annual standard is 15 ug/m3. An alternative scenario recommends that EPA consider setting the annual standard in a range between 10 ug/m3 and 11 ug/m3, and revise the 24-hour standard to between 25 ug/m3 and 30 ug/ m3. EPA last revised the standard in 2006.