Contact Us

Newsroom

News Releases By Date

 

NEW REPORT SHOWS INCREASING SMOG IN MANY RURAL AREAS

Release Date: 04/26/2000
Contact Information:

FOR RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 2000
NEW REPORT SHOWS INCREASING SMOG IN MANY RURAL AREAS

EPA has released its latest atmospheric air quality trends report, showing that overall air quality nationwide continues to improve, although ground-level ozone (smog), the nation’s most pervasive pollutant, is on the rise in certain parts of the country, including many rural areas. This annual air quality report, which looks at trends over ten years, shows a number of improvements from 1989 through 1998: lead concentrations decreased 56 percent; carbon monoxide fell 39 percent; sulfur dioxide also declined 39 percent; coarse particulate matter (dirt, dust, soot) dropped 25 percent; nitrogen dioxide (NOx) was pared 14 percent; and smog was reduced 4 percent. Although national trends have improved over 10 years, air quality in some rural areas has worsened especially in the East. Smog concentrations, for example, increased at 17 of 24 National Park Service monitoring sites; from 1992-1998 (the most complete data available) fine particle concentrations increased at seven of 10 eastern rural monitoring sites. This rural pollution may be attributed to a phenomenon known as regional transport: smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) and fine particles can be carried on the wind hundreds of miles from their origin, causing pollution problems several states away. EPA is taking a number of steps to
reduce smog in the United States, including: issuing stringent rules to reduce car and truck tailpipe emissions; requiring cleaner fuel; proposing stringent new emission standards for all heavy-duty trucks, including the heaviest categories of sports utility vehicles (SUVs); and setting forth emission reduction standards for small hand-held engines. In addition, EPA is moving to implement its rule, recently upheld in federal court, to reduce the regional transport of smog and bring cleaner air to millions of Americans in the eastern United States. The Agency plans to release a summary of 1999 air quality trends later this summer. The document, entitled “National Air Quality and Emissions Trends Report, 1998,” is available at: http://www.epa.gov/oar/aqtrnd98/ . For further technical information, phone David Mintz of EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at 919-541-5224.

R-61 ###