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Health effects of tropospheric ozone: review of recent research findings and their implications to ambient air quality standards



Health effects of tropospheric ozone: review of recent research findings and their implications to ambient air quality standards



Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 3(1): 103-129



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator proposed (on August 3, 1992) to retain the current National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone (O3) on the basis of data assembled in a draft Criteria Document (1986) and its Addendum (1988) which, together with a draft Staff Paper (1988), received public comment and review comments by the EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). This paper summarizes and discusses research findings presented since 1988 which, based on the author's experience as a Chairman of CASAC, are most relevant to the promulgation of a primary (health based) NAAQS for O3. These newer findings include substantial evidence from controlled chamber exposure studies and field studies in natural settings that the current NAAQS contains no margin of safety against short-term effects that the EPA has considered to be adverse. They also include evidence from epidemiologic studies that current ambient exposures are associated with reduced baseline lung function, exacerbation of asthma and premature mortality, as well as evidence from chronic animal exposure studies at concentrations within current ambient peak levels that indicate progressive and persistent lung function and structural abnormalities. The current NAAQS, if retained, may therefore also be inadequate to protect the public from effects resulting from chronic exposure to O3.

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Accession: 046220213

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PMID: 8518544


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