Statement: US must meet new WHO air quality guidelines

Media Contacts
Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG


BOSTON — The United Nations agency World Health Organization (WHO) issued updated air quality guidelines on Wednesday that aim to reduce pollution deaths and push forward the global adoption of clean energy.  Updating these guidelines for the first time since 2005, the global health agency reduced the maximum acceptable levels for several different pollutants — in some cases, dramatically — including nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. The guidelines are intended to apply to both outdoor and indoor air.   

In response, Matt Casale, PIRG’s environment campaigns director, issued the following statement:  

“To combat the climate crisis and keep Americans healthy, we urgently need to meet the WHO’s new air quality standards. To move America off dirty fossil fuels and onto clean, renewable energy, we need to rapidly electrify our homes and buildings.

“It’s also time we set national standards for indoor air pollution, in particular from gas-powered appliances such as stoves. Gas stoves inside homes can increase levels of the toxic pollutant nitrogen dioxide to well over 100 ppb during a one hour period, which is the current EPA standard for outdoor air. Poor air quality indoors affects millions of American families, causing respiratory illnesses such as asthma to develop in children and worsening symptoms in adults.  For the sake of our planet and our health, it’s crucial that we strive to meet these new air quality standards as quickly as we can.