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PA U.S- CANADA REPORT SHOWS PARTICULATE HEALTH DANGERS

Release Date: 10/28/96
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PA U.S- CANADA REPORT SHOWS PARTICULATE HEALTH DANGERS

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25, 1996

U.S-CANADA REPORT SHOWS
PARTICULATE HEALTH DANGERS, ACID RAIN PROGRESS

The United States and Canada today jointly released their third biennial Progress Report on acid rain and other air quality issues under the 1991 United States/Canada Bilateral Air Quality Agreement. The report contains the first five-year review of the Agreement to determine its effectiveness in addressing transboundary air pollution. Since the last progress report, health effects studies indicate that acidic aerosols and other types of particulate matter have adverse health effects in both countries. Both governments also report substantial progress in reducing emissions and effects of acid rain. The 110 biggest sulfur dioxide (SO2)-emitting power plants and other utilities in the United States were in compliance with the acid rain reduction requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments in 1995, the first year of the program (SO2 is one of the prime ingredients in the formation of acid rain). SO2 emissions in this country also declined sharply in 1995, decreasing to 5.3 millions tons annually from 1980 levels of 10.9 million tons(a 51 percent decline). The 1995 SO2 levels were 3.4 million tons better than required under the Clean Air Act. The report cites studies showing reduction in surface water sulfates, leading to water quality improvement in the northeastern United States and Canada, as well as a decrease in lake nitrate concentrations in the Adirondacks; however, the report cites other studies indicating that nitrogen deposition at current levels could reduce the benefits of acid rain reduction in the long term. In addition, the study finds no evidence of widespread forest decline from acid deposition, with some exceptions in some especially sensitive regions. The five-year review of the Air Quality Agreement in the report concludes that, overall, both governments have been successful in fulfilling their obligations under the pact, particularly regarding acid rain control. The Air Quality Agreement, signed by the United States and Canada in March 1991, was established to address transboundary air pollution issues between the two countries. For further technical information, contact Rosemary Wolfe of EPA's Acid Rain Division at 202-233-9176. For copies of "The 1996 United States-Canada Air Quality Agreement Progress Report," call the Acid Rain Hotline at 202-233-9620.



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