From: Alina Selyukh, Reuters
Published August 20, 2010 07:03 AM

Farmers oppose EPA's proposed dust regulation

American farmers have been ridiculing a proposal by U.S. regulators to reduce the amount of dust floating in rural air.

"If there's ever been rural America, that's what rural America is," said Nebraska hog farmer Danny Kluthe. "You know? It's dirt out here, and with dirt you've got dust."

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking to tighten standards for the amount of harmful particles in the air, facing opposition from U.S. farming groups who call it an unrealistic attempt to regulate dust.


The EPA is reviewing its air quality standards to comply with the Clean Air Act that prescribes reevaluation every five years. The agency's scientific panel proposes either retaining or halving the current standard for coarse particles, commonly containing dust, ash and chemical pollutants--particles 10 microns or smaller in diameter, about one-tenth of human hair.

In scientific terms, the EPA is looking to either keep the standards at 150 micrograms per cubic meter or revise it down to 65 to 85 micrograms per cubic meter.

Environmental groups say these tiny elements could be harmful if not deadly for people, causing cardiovascular or respiratory problems.

"They are small enough that they bypass the natural defenses of the body and can be inhaled deeply into the lung," said Janice Nolen, the American Lung Association assistant vice president.

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