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No acute sulfur dioxide standard.

No acute sulfur dioxide standard

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would not impose an acute, 0.4-part-per-million, 1-hour ceiling on sulfur dioxide emissions even though health-effects data now show that currently permissible acute peaks in emissions can induce asthmatic reactions in susceptible individuals. In justifying the controversial decision, EPA Assistant Administrator J. Craig Potter said his agency estimated that no more than 100,000 asthmatics live in regions where acute emissions might cause them problems, that a susceptible individual is not likely to encounter such emissions more than once a year and that many who do are probably on medication that would limit the severity of their reaction.

"We feel that the decision was inadequate...and that a stringent short-term 1-hour standard is necessary," says Fran duMelle of the American Lung Association in Washington, D.C. She adds that even "healthy asthmatics" will respond adversely to 5- or 10-minute sulfur dioxide peaks such as those EPA had considered.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 23, 1988
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