In March, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they would relax regulations for major polluters during the pandemic. Instead, they would rely on those facilities to monitor themselves and decide if they were meeting certain limits on their own. According to Cynthia Giles, head of EPA’s Office of Enforcement during the Obama administration, “It tells companies across the country that they will not face enforcement even if they emit unlawful air and water pollution in violation of environmental laws, so long as they claim that those failures are in some way ’caused’ by the virus pandemic.”

A study by doctoral students at American University discovered that across 700 counties tested, there was a 13% spike in particulate matter, which is likely a result of the EPA’s decision to loosen regulations. Particulate matter, “the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air…such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke,” are known to be harmful to health, especially because they can get into the lung and bloodstream. Exposure to particulate matter is connected to health issues such as heart attacks, asthma, and respiratory irritation. It is one of the most deadly pollutants in the world. Now, the study from American University suggests that there were “7,300 additional deaths from COVID-19” following the EPA’s decision, which supports the likelihood that particulate matter is linked to a heightened risk of coronavirus-related deaths.

Despite the evidence that particulate matter is extremely dangerous for human health, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, is not working to regulate it. In fact, in 2018. he disbanded a scientific panel on particulate pollution. Sign this petition to demand that Administrator Andrew Wheeler immediately set a lower, stricter standard for particulate matter pollution in the United States!

To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:

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