The State & Environmental Impact Center

Sixteen AGs Filed Comments Urging EPA to Reopen Review of Particulate Matter NAAQS in Light of New Findings

November 20, 2020
New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of 16 attorneys general in filing comments urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change course on its decision to leave the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter in place despite a significant and growing body of scientific evidence that they are inadequately protective of public health. The attorneys general highlighted three recently published scientific studies that provide further evidence of “both the immediate harms of exposure to particulate matter during a respiratory disease pandemic and the long-term cognitive impacts” of exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5). One of the studies found a statistically significant connection between particulate matter exposure and an elevated risk of death in COVID-19 patients; another study found that older people exposed to PM2.5 faced “an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and related dementias.” The comments reinforced concerns raised by a similar coalition of state attorneys general in comments filed in July 2020.