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Area Designations for 1997 Fine Particle (PM2.5) Standards

Benefits of Meeting the PM2.5 Standard

In 1997, EPA estimated that meeting the fine particle standards will prevent at least:
  • 15,000 premature deaths;
  • 75,000 cases of chronic bronchitis;
  • 10,000 hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases;
  • 20,000 cases of acute bronchitis;
  • hundreds of thousands of occurrences of aggravated asthma; and
  • 3.1 million days when people miss work because they are suffering from particle-related symptoms.
NOTE: All of these estimates reflect health effects prevented during a single year. We believe actual benefits may be larger, for several reasons:
  • Since we estimated these benefits in 1997 (the year we issued the standard), a number of new health studies have been published. Chief among these is an update to a key study linking premature death to fine particle exposure.
  • In addition, EPA now is able to quantify several additional, and important, health effects related to PM2.5 exposure. These include infant mortality and non-fatal heart attacks.
  • The 1997 estimates were based on modeling partial attainment of the standard in 2010. At the time of the analysis, we recognized that many areas could not meet the PM2.5 standard by that time. Our estimates show a snapshot in time, reflecting progress and partial attainment but not complete attainment.
  • EPA's Clean Air Rules of 2004 will significantly reduce emissions that form particle pollution and help many areas meet the PM2.5 standard. These include the Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule, finalized in May, and the proposed Clean Air Interstate Air Rule, scheduled to become final later this year.

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