TipSheet: Ignoring COVID-19 Link, EPA Leaves Lax Soot Standard in Place

Read the full tipsheet from the Society for Environmental Journalists.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did nothing on April 14 — and that was news. 

The agency declined to tighten the health standard for fine soot pollution in the air, despite scientific advice that such pollution worsens people’s vulnerability to the coronavirus.

It was more than bad timing (may require subscription). The decision caused consternation among public health advocates, who thought the government should help lessen the threat of COVID-19, not raise it. 

One analysis found that just keeping the current standard could cost 52,000 lives a year. EPA’s own staff scientists (may require subscription) had recommended tightening it.

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