Air pollution is altering the environment and reducing many benefits generated by wild lands, threatening water purity, food production, and climate stability, according to the authors of a new report. Published in the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) 14th edition of Issues in Ecology, the report calls for modernizing air quality standards, including a regulatory cost benefit analyses to account for ecosystem impacts. Traditional air quality standards have been defined by human health risk, not overall ecosystem health. Current standards do not provide adequate ecosystem protection, and the authors find that the U.S. needs to enact policy thresholds based on scientific thresholds to define sulfur, mercury, and nitrogen pollutant loads. The report can be downloaded from ESA’s website at http://esa.org/science_resources/issues/FileEnglish/issuesinecology14.pdf.
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