2014 Press Releases

HomeAboutNewsroomPress ReleasesPress Releases from the ATS2014 Press Releases ▶ American Thoracic Society Welcomes the EPA's New Standards on Automobile Emissions
American Thoracic Society Welcomes the EPA's New Standards on Automobile Emissions

March 3, 2014 – The American Thoracic Society applauds today’s release by the Environmental Protection Agency of new standards reducing the amount of sulfur allowed in gasoline and reducing emissions from new cars and SUVs. These changes will have an enormous positive impact on public health.

“The adverse health consequences of traffic-related air pollution are well documented, and as pulmonary physicians, we see the effects of polluted air on patients’ ability to breathe every day,” says Patricia Finn, MD, president of the American Thoracic Society. “The effects of smog on respiratory health are particularly pronounced for patients living with asthma, COPD, or other lung diseases.”

“The impact of air pollution on respiratory health also disproportionately affects people with lower incomes, who are more likely to live near highways or other heavily used roadways,” said Dr. Finn. “Children are also at increased risk from the effects of air pollution because their lungs are still developing and they tend to be more active outdoors than adults.”

The EPA’s new standards, known as the Tier 3 standards, could save up to 2,000 lives, prevent 19,000 asthma attacks and prevent nearly 300,000 missed days of work and school each year by the year 2030, according to EPA estimates.  These reductions will more than offset the costs of implementing the new standards.

The Tier 3 Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards Program will set new vehicle emissions standards and lower the sulfur content of gasoline beginning in 2017. The vehicle standards will reduce both tailpipe and evaporative emissions from passenger cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles, and some heavy-duty vehicles, and the gasoline sulfur standard will enable more stringent vehicle emissions standards and make emissions control systems more effective.