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U.S. EPA proposes that Imperial County has met 8-hour ozone health standard

Release Date: 09/15/2009
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, (213) 244-1815, cell (213) 798-1404

Air quality improving in Imperial County

(09/15/09) SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed that Imperial County, Calif., has met the federal air quality standard established for ozone in 1997.

This proposal is based on the California Air Resources Board’s February 2009 request to find Imperial Valley air quality in attainment of one of the national ozone standards, based on three years of clean air monitoring data--2006, 2007 and 2008. The data are reported to the EPA from the Air Resources Board and the Imperial Valley air district’s official air monitoring network. The network consists of five monitoring sites from Calexico to Niland, operated in accordance with the EPA’s regulations and guidelines to ensure precision and accuracy.

Cleaner air in Imperial County is the result of federal, state and local actions, including stringent state and federal engine and fuel standards that reduce pollution from cars, trucks and other vehicles. In addition, Imperial County Air Pollution Control District regulates pollution from stationary sources, such as power plants and manufacturing operations. Controlling emissions from these sources has been critical to reaching the 1997 8-hour ozone health-based standard.

In 2008, the EPA updated the 1997 ozone standard based on recent scientific studies. Emission controls will continue to be important to meet the new 2008 ozone standard in the future.

Ozone, or smog, is created by the interaction of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, or NoX, in the presence of sunlight. It can reduce lung function and aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Healthy people who are active outdoors on high ozone days may experience coughing, nasal congestion and itchy eyes.

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