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Release Date: 4/25/2000
Contact Information: Sonia Altieri (415) 744-1588

     San Francisco - - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has officially redesignated Tucson, Arizona as an attainment area for the national health standard for carbon monoxide (CO).  EPA has also approved Tucson's plan to continue meeting the health standard for the next ten years.
     "This means that the Tucson area has met the health-based standard for carbon monoxide,  and that Tucson citizens are breathing cleaner air, " said Felicia Marcus, U.S. EPA's regional administrator.  "It is great news for the health of the region's 850,000 residents.  We would like to congratulate the Governor of Arizona, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, and the Pima Association of Governments on this achievement."  

     The state and local government agencies have been working hard to meet the health standard since initially being designated a non-attainment area for carbon monoxide in 1991.  The region has successfully implemented a number of carbon monoxide control measures, including a cleaner fuel and a vehicle emission inspection program.  As a result of these efforts and others, there have been no exceedances of the carbon monoxide health standard since 1993.  

     The Clean Air Act, which was last amended in 1990, requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for pollutants that threaten public health and the environment.  When an area violates a health-based standard, the Clean Air Act requires that the area be designated as non-attainment for that pollutant.  Carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless, and poisonous gas produced mainly from motor vehicles.  It enters the bloodstream and reduces the delivery of oxygen to the body's organs and tissues.  Carbon monoxide can have serious health effects on children, the elderly, and people with respiratory ailments.  


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