The Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed the air quality criteria and the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for carbon monoxide, and is proposing to retain them.

At least one expert doesn’t think keeping the old rules in place is a good idea, and wants tougher standards. If you agree with him, as I do, you have until April 12 to submit comments. There will also be a public hearing on the matter Feb. 28 in Arlington, Va.

Albert Donnay, a carbon monoxide toxicologist and environmental health engineer, has sounded this warning about keep the old CO standards in place.

First, he said that this is the first carbon monoxide review that the EPA has completed since 1994, even though the Clean Air Act requires reviews every five years.

“Unfortunately, the EPA Administrator proposes to leave both the 8-hour and 1-hour CO exposure standards at their 1971 levels of 9ppm and 35ppm, respectively — despite hundreds of peer-reviewed studies documenting significantly increased risks of birth defects, illness and death to many susceptible populations from small increases of just 0.1 to 1ppm within current ambient ranges of less than 5ppm,” Donnay said.

“As with other recent EPA reviews of the NAAQS for ozone, particulates, SO2, and NO2, its CO review falls far short of not just what the science on CO supports, but also what the Clean Air Act requires in terms of protecting sensitive populations and what EPA’s own staff and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee recommended,” Donnay added.

Donnay believes that updating and making the old CO standards more stringent will benefit a myriad of Americans.  

“This rulemaking has important implications for all organizations concerned with improving air quality, promoting the use of epidemiology in public health policy, and reducing morbidity and mortality among fetuses, infants, the elderly, and Americans of all ages suffering from cardiovascular and respiratory disorders, anemia, diabetes and many other serious chronic diseases,” he wrote. 

People, take up your pens or hit your computer keyboards.


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