Study Evaluates the Effects of EPA’s Anti-Pollution Regulations

August 2, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. regulation /ˌrɛg yəˈleɪ ʃən / (n.) – a law dictating how things should be done
Example: The government implemented new regulations to minimize air pollution.

2. compliance / kəmˈplaɪ əns / (n.) – the act of obeying a rule or an order
Example: The authorities expect to observe complete compliance among all citizens.

3. exposure / ɪkˈspoʊ ʒər / (n.) – the condition of experiencing or being in contact with something
Example: His exposure to secondhand smoke has made him sick.

4. airborne / ˈɛərˌbɔrn / (adj.) – carried by the air
Example: Tuberculosis is an airborne disease.

5. correlation / ˌkɔr əˈleɪ ʃən / (n.) – a connection or relationship between things
Example: There is a high correlation between smoking and respiratory illnesses.


Read the text below.
A new study challenges the effectiveness of some air quality regulations implemented by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Researchers at the Indiana University analyzed the compliance cost, or how much the government spends to comply with policies, and the estimated number of lives that the regulations would save. They specifically looked into nine regulations that the EPA issued between 2011 and 2013, most of which are focused on reducing air pollutants like fine particles.

In order to assess the effectiveness of the regulations, the researchers asked 12 experts about how exposure to fine particles affects one’s health. After integrating all answers from the experts, the researchers found that exposure to fine airborne particles does not cause mortality. This result disagrees with the EPA’s claim that fine airborne particles kill thousands of people annually.

The study suggests that the EPA’s estimated number of lives saved by its regulations may no longer be accurate. Since exposure to fine particles does not necessarily lead to early death, the government might be spending more than what is necessary just to comply with the EPA’s regulations. Researchers thus recommend that the regulations be updated.

The results of this recent study agree with a previous study published in 2013. The older study found that exposure to fine airborne particles has no statistical correlation with early death. This study also did not find any evidence supporting the EPA’s claim that older people and those diagnosed with heart and lung diseases are more susceptible to the negative health effects of fine particles.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think the EPA should do after learning about the study’s results?
·         In your opinion, how can the EPA ensure the accuracy of their estimates?

Discussion B

·         What air pollution regulations does your country implement?
·         What do you think are other ways to minimize air pollution?

August 2, 2015