An author and commentator says there are "no benefits" to
tougher air pollution standards from the Environmental Protection
The standards, expected later this month, involve small soot,
dust and other particulate matter known as PM2.5. According to the
EPA, particles vary in size and can be suspended in the air for
long periods of time. Exposure can be deadly, with children and
adults considered high-risk groups because of their outdoor
activities and ages, respectively.
The EPA now wants to ratchet down the Clinton-era EPA standards
of 15 micrograms per cubic meter to as few as 12 micrograms per
"This is kind of silly, because the national
average, first off, is ten," notes author and JunkScience.com
publisher Steve Milloy. "So there's really no need, even if there
were some places that violate the standard."
Meanwhile, Milloy says the science behind the standards falls
apart. As an example, he compares a non-smoker to someone who smokes
a half a pack of cigaretts a day for a year.
"They'd have to breathe thousands of years of ambient air to get
as much particulate matter as a smoker would in just a year (36.5
million micrograms to 146 million micrograms)," he reports. "So
there are no benefits to this rule -- just costs."
Speaking of the costs, the EPA puts that from $2.9 to $69
million per year, while bringing health benefits worth $88 million
to $5.9 billion annually.
Still, Milloy says those are merely compliance costs.
"[A cost of] $69 million a year sounds like a lot, but on a
national scale for an EPA regulation, it's really not that much,"
the author asserts. "The real cost is in terms of what the
regulations do -- they set air quality levels at levels that states
have to turn away industrial opportunities or curb other 'polluting
activities,' which means turning away business and turning down tax
As a result, Milloy concludes that mindlessly ratcheting down
these standards means lost opportunity in the tens, if not
hundreds, of billions of dollars.