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U.S. EPA approves plan to reduce Valley dust and particulate pollution

Release Date: 4/29/2004
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, (415) 947-4307

SAN FRANCISCO - After considering public comment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is approving the San Joaquin air district's 2003 air pollution control plan, which will reduce particulate matter pollution in the Valley.

"This plan includes specific commitments that will result in immediate and future progress," said Deborah Jordan, the EPA's air division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "The district has already begun implementing this comprehensive plan, which asks Valley residents and businesses -- construction companies, growers, industrial sources, and homeowners with fireplaces -- to do their part to clean up the air."

Coupled with state and federal mobile source emission standards, the plan will help the Valley to attain the federal PM-10 standards by 2010.

California submitted the plan to the EPA last year. The EPA proposed approving the plan in January and opened a public comment period in February. The state and district have committed to update the plan in 2006 when more data becomes available.

The Valley has the third highest average annual concentrations of particulate matter nationwide, ranking only behind Phoenix, Arizona and the greater Los Angeles area.

Sources of particulate air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley include dust, which is kicked up into the air from vehicle traffic and from disturbed areas, and pollution from diesel trucks, power plants and manufacturing facilities which react in the atmosphere to form particulate air pollution.

Particulate matter affects the respiratory system and can cause damage to lung tissue and premature death. The elderly, children and people with chronic lung disease, influenza, or asthma are especially sensitive to high levels of particulate matter.