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You are here News Environment EPA tightens rules on some air pollution for the first time in over a decade

EPA tightens rules on some air pollution for the first time in over a decade

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EPA tightens rules

When Cynthia Pinto-Cabrera developed asthma at 12, it didn't seem that unusual to her. Lots of her classmates in California's San Joaquin Valley carried inhalers to school. Her little brother needed a nebulizer every morning just to start his day breathing right.

But when she left the valley for college in Santa Barbara, Pinto-Cabrera encountered a world with far less air pollution than she had lived with. She found it shocking that other parts of the country simply lived with cleaner air— and their health benefited.

"A lot of people here in the valley don't really know asthma is not the normal," she says. "We've really normalized chronic illnesses."

Pinto-Cabrera is one of many people nationwide celebrating an announcement Wednesday from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which unveiled new, stricter limits for one of the deadliest types of air pollution: tiny particles about 30 times smaller than a human hair. These particles are called PM2.5 (shorthand for particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) and are commonly referred to as soot.

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