AUSTIN — Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Life:Powered project released an update of the research paper The EPA’s Pretense of Science: Regulating Phantom Risks. The update coincides with a series of EPA meetings to assess the protectiveness of the national ambient air quality standards for particulate matter (PM2.5).

“From the beginning, the regulation of PM2.5 has been flawed by a policy agenda that dictates pollution levels should be reduced to zero regardless of cost,” said The Honorable Kathleen Hartnett White. “The current EPA should be applauded for its efforts to stop this misuse of science within its ranks and reform its regulatory processes.”

For many years, the EPA has misled the public by claiming that PM2.5 leads to tens of thousands of deaths every year in the U.S., despite pollution standards that are barely above natural background levels and weak scientific evidence. Under the Obama administration, the supposed health benefits from reducing PM2.5 were used to justify needless air quality regulations that cost Americans many billions of dollars.

“As the EPA considers reforms to the flawed risk assessments and cost-benefit analyses for PM2.5,” said Brent Bennett, Ph.D. “we want to highlight the errors in the quantification of benefits attributed to reductions in PM2.5 levels and encourage a more informed and robust debate on how this pollutant is regulated.”

Key Points:

  • The Obama-era EPA inflated the benefits of a wide array of new air quality regulations with supposed health benefits from reducing PM2.5 below the already safe standard of 12 ug/m3.
  • Despite toxicological evidence that humans have a natural resistance to PM2.5, the EPA has consistently applied a “no-threshold” assumption and said that there is no level of pollution that is too low to prevent harm. This assumption should be rigorously examined using toxicological studies and abandoned if not upheld in that field.
  • The EPA needs better toxicological studies and clinical trials demonstrating casual connections between ambient levels of PM2.5 and adverse health effects.

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