Science and common sense are being ignored in the Department of Environmental Protection’s recent request to exempt much of Maine from federal ozone pollution controls. Time after time, we see that the benefits of regulating air pollution greatly outweigh the costs of implementation, so don’t be fooled by industry whining.

Ground-level ozone is a very dangerous air pollutant linked to asthma and permanent damage to children’s lungs. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine has the second highest rate of adult asthma in the U.S., over 20 percent higher than the national average, and Maine’s childhood asthma rate is also higher than the national average.

A 2005 study shows that in Portland an increase in ozone was linked to an increase in emergency room visits for asthma attacks. Each year, thousands of people in the U.S. die in asthma attacks, and asthma also leads to millions of missed school days among U.S. children.

Ozone exposure also increases the risk of death in people with COPD and other respiratory diseases. The health impacts are so severe that ozone researchers cannot determine a “safe” level of exposure and instead argue that one may not exist.

Making air pollution worse is bad for everyone and will certainly not lead to more jobs in Maine. Undoubtedly, it will also be bad for Maine’s tourism economy. Let the DEP know that you oppose this dangerous proposal by submitting your comment to Jeffrey Crawford ([email protected]; 17 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333; 207-287-7647) or by visiting https://www.maine.gov/dep/cal_item.html?id=801219.

Gail Carlson

Waterville

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

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