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Sierra Daily

Sep 27, 2011

Uh-Ozone

Earlier this month, the Obama administration shelved plans to strengthen ozone standards in the U.S., instead leaving them at the 75 parts per billion threshold set by the Bush administration in 2008. In Europe, the European Commission’s standard for ozone is an enviable 61 parts per billion  -- the low end of the range proposed by the EPA's independent advisory panel under Bush and rekindled ever so briefly by current EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.

Even so, Europe has some scary health issues on the horizon: A new study of potential climate-induced increases in ozone-related deaths in Europe concludes that Belgium, France, Spain, and Portugal could expect such deaths to increase between 10 and 14 percent over the next 50 years. Since 1961, Belgium, Ireland, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have seen the biggest impact on ozone-related deaths due to climate change.

“Ground-level ozone formation is due to rise as temperatures increase with climate change,” said Dr. Hans Orru, one of the report’s authors and an air pollution expert from the University of Tartu in Estonia. “The results of our study have shown the potential effects that climate change can have on ozone levels and how this change will impact upon the health of Europeans."

-- Reed McManus

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