New boiler emissions standards save lives

In response to federal court orders, the US Environmental Protection Agency is issuing final Clean Air Act standards that reduce toxic air emissions, including mercury and soot, from boilers and two types of waste incinerators. The new standards are estimated to cut the overall cost of implementation by about 50 per cent, or US$1.8 billion, as compared to an earlier draft proposal issued last year.

EPA estimates that the new standards will avoid between 2,600 and 6,600 premature deaths, prevent 4,100 heart attacks and avert 42,000 asthma attacks per year in 2014, and that for every dollar spent to cut these pollutants, the public will see between US$10 and US$24 in health benefits, including fewer premature deaths. Moreover, the rule is expected to generate over 2,000 new jobs.

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