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Tuesday, January 5, 2010 - 12:28pm

EPA Considers More Limits on S02

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering tightening air quality standards for a pollutant that can aggravate asthma.

The proposed rule change would further limit how much sulfur dioxide is allowed in the air, and it would make sure the limit is met on an hourly basis as opposed to a daily basis like it is now.

That makes a big difference for asthma sufferers and people with respiratory problems says Rebecca Watts Hull with Mothers and Others for Clean Air.

"What a one hour standard does is catch short term spikes which we know could send someone to the emergency room," says Watts Hull.

Currently, the state is in compliance, but that could change with the revision says Jim Kelley with Georgia's Environmental Protection Division.

"Savannah has some elevated levels of sulfur," says Kelley. "Some of the other areas… Atlanta will be somewhat high. The city of Rome in Floyd county is another area that could be affected as well."

Kelley says major polluters include paper mills, diesel trucks, large ships and coal-fired power plants.

Though he says most of the coal plants in the state already have scrubbers that remove much of the pollutant.

The federal standard for S02 hasn’t been revised since 1971.

Public comment is open until February 8.

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