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U.S. EPA redesignates Miami, Ariz. area as attaining federal sulfur dioxide standard

Release Date: 12/26/2006
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

(12/26/06 -- SAN FRANCISCO) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency redesignated the Miami, Ariz. area as having met the federal health standard for sulfur dioxide and approved the state’s plan to maintain healthy air quality levels in the area for the 10 years.

    “We want to congratulate Arizona for achieving the sulfur dioxide health-based air quality standard in the Miami area,” said Colleen McKaughan, the associate director of the U.S. EPA’s Air Division in the Pacific Southwest. “The state’s efforts to control sulfur dioxide from smelters have resulted in a significant decrease in sulfur dioxide emissions.”

    The Phelps-Dodge Miami primary copper smelter is the dominant source of sulfur dioxide in the Miami area. The smelter has undergone significant modifications to reduce emissions since 1970, and as a result, air quality has improved. Monitoring data indicate the area has been attaining the sulfur dioxide air quality standard since 1985.

    Sulfur dioxide causes adverse health effects, including reduced lung function, increased respiratory illness, altered lung defenses and aggravated existing cardiovascular disease. Children, the elderly, and people with asthma are the most vulnerable. Sulfur dioxide has a variety of additional impacts, including acidic deposits, crops and vegetation damage and corrosion of natural and man-made materials.

    For more information, visit the U.S. EPA’s Web site at: