Air pollution, human health and PM-2.5 standards Essay Example
Air pollution, human health and PM-2.5 standards Essay Example

Air pollution, human health and PM-2.5 standards Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1300 words)
  • Published: June 29, 2016
  • Type: Paper
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The presence of PM-2.5 in the air that people breathe daily is a significant concern for everyone, and it is also known as "total suspended particulate (TSP)". This aspect of air pollution was initially acknowledged in 1971 by Sattler and Lipscomb (2002, p. 138).

Air pollutants known as PM-2.5 and PM-10 have been recognized globally for their harmful impact on health, leading to the implementation of various regulations worldwide aimed at controlling levels of PM-2.5 in the air.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made annual and 24-hour PM level designations twice. The first designation occurred in 1997, and the second took place in 2006 after conducting studies that led to necessary adjustments (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2009).

Both the European Union and other European countries, like Canada, are adopting PM-2.5 levels either through local go


vernment or by adhering to EU standards (A.S. & L Associates, 2009).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has played a crucial role in global PM-2.5 levels and standards, making significant contributions. As an influential organization dedicated to human health, the WHO has been instrumental in raising awareness, funding research, and helping countries understand and regulate PM-2.5 levels effectively. This includes offering guidance on efficiently controlling and measuring PM-2.5 levels (World Health Organization, 2009).

Concerns have been raised by critics regarding the existing PM-2.5 standards and enforcement levels in various countries, asserting their insufficiency. Therefore, this study seeks to examine the potential for establishing a universal PM-2.5 level and standard that can be universally adopted by countries in order to adequately protect human health.

The main objective of this paper is t

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analyze the effects of changes in controlling PM-2.5 level on various aspects of human life, particularly focusing on the economic impact. It is important to understand that any modifications in control methods will heavily influence areas involving machines, engines, petroleum, and other factors crucial to the economy.

The PM2.5 levels in countries and various organizations such as WHO, Health Canada, and US EPA are being monitored.The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a standard for fine particulate matter PM-2.5 at 35 micrograms per cubic meter for a 24-hour period. According to Smith (1999, p. 3402), the current annual standard in the US is to keep the PM-2.5 level at 15 micrograms per cubic meter or lower.

In 2005, the World Health Organization set the acceptable PM-2.5 levels at 10 micrograms per cubic meter. However, in Canada, the standards for PM-2.5 are higher and set at 30 micrograms per cubic meter for 24-hour periods (A.S. & L Associates, 2009).

Are the existing standards sufficient?

Agencies and specialists are continuously working to evaluate the efficacy of current regulations on PM-2.5 air pollution levels. Their objective is to determine whether these standards effectively address both short-term and long-term goals in controlling and managing PM-2.5. An article from Canada emphasizes a challenge encountered in this field.

The article discussed a case that exemplifies "non-threshold toxins." These toxins have no levels that are considered safe for humans according to standards, making it impossible to achieve completely safe air quality. (International Joint Commission, 2009).

As long as there is PM-2.5 pollution in the air, the risk of health problems, health risks, and death

remains. Nonetheless, it is crucial to work towards improving the situation, even if completely safe air cannot be achieved. The emphasis should be on establishing an environment that is more favorable for human health compared to one with unregulated levels of PM-2.5.

The establishment of standards aimed to instigate change, thus it is unsurprising that the presence of studies revealing favorable outcomes is not unexpected. However, if there are studies indicating flaws in the standards, it is crucial to thoroughly evaluate them as they suggest that the intended objectives may not have been achieved.

The sufficiency of PM-2.5 level regulations in the United States has raised concerns among prominent institutions, including the United States Supreme Court. According to Kondratyev, Varotsos, Krapivin, and Ivlev (2006), the US Supreme Court questioned the adequacy of these standards (p. 76).

Members of the EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) expressed their curiosity to the EPA administrator about why the 2006 revision failed to enforce stricter PM-2.5 standards, as some individuals within the EPA found this change insufficient (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009).

The group is aware that the current standards do not adequately protect human health, according to CASAC. This uncertainty arises from the belief that the management tools used to enforce the PM-2.5 standards are insufficient.

Specialists encounter difficulties in assessing the accuracy of their data, which is crucial for safeguarding human health and economic stability. There have been concerns regarding the precision of PM-2.5 emission estimates (Office of the Inspector General, 2003, p. 9).

The following content is a proposal for a new level.

The country's new annual PM-2.5 level

standard is heavily influenced by the current lowest annual PM-2.5 standard, but it takes additional steps to significantly decrease the projected annual PM-2.5 concentration compared to previous standards and levels.

In order to avoid setting an impossible and unrealistic goal, it is important to establish a new annual PM-2.5 standard that closely matches the current lowest standard. By aiming to meet the previous lowest standard, countries can also strive towards achieving a slightly lower standard.

The reason for the change is the basis.

The objective of the proposed change is to enhance health conditions and minimize the adverse effects resulting from elevated levels by keeping PM-2.5 levels lower.

Establishing a realistic and attainable PM-2.5 level/standard for hypothetical propositions is crucial but setting it at 0 is not feasible. This is because completely eliminating various sources of PM-2.5 in the air is impossible, impractical, and unrealistic.

To propose a lower level for air pollution and PM-2.5, we can either identify the least affected country or create a new standard that is even lower than the current lowest PM-2.5 standard.

The World Health Organization has established a minimum standard of 10 micrograms per cubic meter for PM-2.5, which is lower than the 15 micrograms per cubic meter set by the US EPA. However, in the case of Newfoundland in Canada, it is impossible to determine the proposed level for PM-2.5 as it surpasses the EPA's annual limit of 15 micrograms per cubic meter, set in 2006.

The proposed annual standard of 8 micrograms per cubic meter deviates from both the US and WHO standards by five points. However, it should

be noted that achieving the lowest standard is not difficult. In fact, lowering the standard by two points compared to WHO offers an opportunity to enhance health and air quality without causing major negative economic impacts.

Although not a new concept, the notion of this being a major change has been previously observed. In previous instances, projected levels have undergone notable fluctuations, particularly in regard to the 24-hour particulate level. It has been documented that this level has decreased from 65 micrograms to a mere 35 micrograms.

Although there is no current empirical evidence confirming it as the optimal level, lowering the PM-2.5 standard to 8 micrograms per cubic meter is logically justified. This action will also lead to a decrease in everything else (Tamminen, 2006, p. 14).

Evidence suggests that reducing particulate matter in the air has numerous benefits, including lower illness and death rates (Tamminen, 2006, p. 14). Additionally, literary sources indicate that even with the current 15 microgram standard, there are still issues, highlighting its inadequacy. It is important to emphasize that lowering the standard is not a solution that will immediately improve air quality and related conditions.

The presence of PM-2.5 can be influenced by new and previously undetected factors, as well as seasonal factors like forest fires.

Identifying the days with higher PM-2.5 levels compared to others and understanding the reasons behind this phenomenon, known as "PM-2.5 seasonality" (California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board, 2009), is crucial. The International Joint Commission also referred to this concept as "episodic" when evaluating Canadian PM-2.5 standards in 2009.

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