Press Release: Sierra Club Georgia Chapter Celebrates as EPA Strengthens Soot Standards

ATLANTA — On February 7th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a long-awaited new standard to limit air pollution from soot. The new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) — commonly known as soot — will lower the annual standard from 12 mcg/m3 to 9 mcg/m3. Nationally, this new standard is expected to prevent up to 4,500 premature deaths, 290,000 lost workdays per year, and result in as much as $43 billion in net health benefits in 2032. 

Evidence shows exposure to soot pollution increases the risk of asthma, heart attacks, stroke, cancer, and even premature death. An estimated 63 million people in the United States experience unhealthy spikes in daily soot pollution, and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to higher-than-average levels of this dangerous pollutant.

The EPA will now determine areas of the country that do not meet the new standards and will release those results within two years. States that do not meet the new standards will have 18 months to develop and submit plans to comply.

In response, Sierra Club Georgia Chapter Director G Webber released the following statement:

“The Biden Administration’s actions to reduce harmful soot pollution are most welcome here in Georgia, which has one of the highest childhood asthma rates in the nation. This new air quality standard will help protect our families and our communities from the serious health risks associated with soot pollution, and we’re incredibly encouraged to see the EPA take this step.”

About the Sierra Club Georgia Chapter

The Sierra Club Georgia Chapter is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the state, with more than 75,000 members and supporters. The Chapter supports a robust outings program and has active committees working on forest and coastal protection, transit expansion, and clean energy. For more information, visit

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

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