Calif issues new air quality rules after cancer study

A new air quality rule will require some southern California industrial facilities to reduce toxic emissions or notify the public of the health risks from them. 

California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District board approved the new rules Friday after state officials issued guidelines saying the cancer risk from toxic chemicals is almost three times higher than what was previously thought, the Los Angeles Times reports

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Under the rules, industrial facilities that emit air pollutants like arsenic are required to notify the public if their facility’s cancer risk is deemed to exceed 10 in 1 million (which means the facility’s pollution could result in 10 cancer cases per 1 million people every 30 years). If the risk is 25 in 1 million, the facility owners must take steps to reduce emissions. 

The air quality district’s rules cover 400 facilities in southern California counties around Los Angeles. 

The new rule means 42 facilities will have to issue public notices about their pollutants and 22 will have to cut emissions. Another 87 will complete new health assessments. The total cost to businesses is about $1.9 million a year.

Businesses had opposed the new rule, arguing that the air quality board should reduce its requirements to help area businesses instead. An industry group said in February that regulators should “avoid unnecessarily alarming the public while harming local businesses and our economy.”

State regulators issued new air quality guidelines after studies showed pollutants had higher health risks to children and infants. More than 30 other California clean air boards are considering changing pollution rules to fit the new requirements.