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EPA examines regulations to control soot pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized air quality standards designed to protect Americans from soot pollution. Fine particles can cause serious health effects such as heart attacks and strokes, and the updated air quality standards are designed to help U.S. counties further protect citizens against these dangers.

Agency officials said that they anticipate that 99 percent of U.S. counties could meet the revised health standard by 2020, without any additional action.

"These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act," EPA representative Lisa P. Jackson said. "We will save lives and reduce the burden of illness in our communities."

Fewer than 10 U.S. counties will need to perform actions to reduce fine particle pollution to meet the new standard, which is mandated by the Clean Air Act. Meanwhile, the remaining counties can follow existing federal guidelines to meet the new standard.

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