Second Integrated Urban Air Toxics Report to Congress

On August 21, 2014, EPA released the Second Integrated Urban Air Toxics Report to Congress - the final of two reports required under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to inform Congress of EPA’s actions and progress in reducing public health risks from urban air toxics.

Using national emissions and air quality data, the report shows the substantial progress that has been made to reduce air toxics across the country since the passage of the Integrated Urban Air Toxics Strategy in 1999.

This report gives everyone fighting for clean air a lot to be proud of.  Together, we have made great progress to reduce public health risks from air pollution. But we know our work is not done yet. At the core of EPA’s mission is the pursuit of environmental justice - striving for clean air, water and healthy land for every American; and we are committed to reducing remaining pollution, especially in low-income neighborhoods, to address these challenges.
—EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

The report highlights some of the results achieved through EPA’s air toxics regulations, including:

  • A 66 percent reduction in benzene;
  • A nearly 60 percent reduction in mercury from man-made sources like coal-fired power plants;
  • An 84 percent decrease of lead in outdoor air;
  • The removal of an estimated 1.5 million tons per year of air toxics from stationary sources, and approximately 3 million tons per year of criteria pollutants as a co-benefit of air toxics reductions;
  • The removal of an estimated 1.5 million tons per year of air toxics from mobile sources, which represents a 50 percent reduction in mobile source air toxics emissions.

Reducing emissions of air toxics is a top priority for EPA and even with this progress, work remains to improve our understanding of air toxics, so we can effectively reduce remaining risks, particularly in overburdened communities. EPA’s Plan EJ 2014, is making sure environmental justice is addressed in programs and policies across the agency. EPA is working closely with state, local and tribal agencies to promote area-wide and regional strategies to address air toxics and support a number of community-based programs that help communities understand, prioritize and reduce exposures to toxic pollutants in their local environment. In addition, EPA has initiated and supported a number of community-based programs with a focus on environmental justice to address local air toxics concerns in overburdened communities.

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