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EPA designates areas in midwest region not meeting standard for fine particle pollution

Release Date: 10/08/2009
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 09-OPA195


(Chicago - Oct. 8, 2009) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced areas that are failing to meet the Agency's daily standard for fine particle pollution, also known as PM 2.5. In Region 5, EPA notified the governors of Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin that some counties in their states fail to meet the standard. EPA notified the governors of Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota that all counties in their states meet the standard.

Michigan counties that do not meet the standard are Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne in the Detroit-Ann Arbor area.

Ohio counties that do not meet the standard are Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit in the Cleveland-Akron-Lorain area; Stark in the Canton-Massillon area and Jefferson in the Steubenville and Weirton, W. Va. area.

Wisconsin counties that do not meet the standard are Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha in the Milwaukee-Racine area.

For areas designated as violating the fine particle air quality standard, the states must develop plans to bring the areas into attainment, and new industry seeking to build plants in the areas must meet tight emission control requirements. Under the Clean Air Act, states must submit plans within three years to provide for meeting the standard within five years. This action will be published soon in the Federal Register and will become effective 30 days after publication.

Airborne fine particles are less than 2.5 microns in size (1/30 the width of a human hair). In 2006, EPA strengthened the 24-hour fine particle standard from 65 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 35 micrograms per cubic meter to protect public health. Fine particle pollution is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. When inhaled, they can reach the deepest regions of the lungs and cause serious health problems such as aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Fine particle pollution is also the main cause of visibility impairment in the nation's cities and national parks.
More information on the designations is at: http://www.epa.gov/pmdesignations.

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