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EPA initiates new review of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new review of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). EPA Administrator Michael Regan reached this decision after considering advice provided by the independent Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC).

EPA established the current standards at a level of 70 parts per billion in 2015 and retained them in 2020, after concluding that there was little new information to suggest the need for revision. The CASAC, however, has identified studies published more recently and also recommended that EPA conduct additional risk analyses that might support more stringent standards.

In October 2021, EPA announced a reconsideration of the previous Administration’s decision to retain the NAAQS for ozone. EPA is incorporating the ongoing reconsideration into the review announced today and will consider the advice and recommendations of the CASAC in that review.

After carefully reviewing the advice of the independent scientific panel, I am convinced that a full and complete review of the ozone NAAQS is warranted to ensure a thorough and transparent assessment of the latest science.

—EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan

Exposure to ground-level ozone can cause respiratory issues, aggravate asthma and other lung diseases, and may lead to missed days of work or school, emergency room visits, and premature deaths.

Nationally, due in part to strong EPA emission standards that reduce air pollution, ozone air quality is improving. Between 2010 and 2022, national average ozone air quality concentrations have dropped 7%. In many of the areas designated as not meeting the current 2015 standards, work remains. To continue progress in reducing ozone, EPA has initiated regulatory actions including new federal emissions standards for cars and trucks and strengthening rules to reduce pollution from the oil and natural gas industry, which is a leading source of ozone-forming volatile organic compounds.

The new review will allow EPA to consider fully the information about the latest ozone science and potential implications for the ozone NAAQS provided by the CASAC and the Ozone Review Panel.

Next steps include:

  • Issuing a call for information in the Federal Register in the next few days;

  • convening a public science and policy workshop in spring 2024 to gather input from the scientific community and the public;

  • in summer 2024, EPA will summarize the proceedings of the workshop to consider how the information gathered can be used to inform the next review, including specific areas of science that warrant particular focus and analytic enhancements;

  • in fall 2024 the agency plans to release its Integrated Review Plan, Volume 2 to guide CASAC consideration and development of the Integrated Science Assessment.

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