The EPA’s soot pollution update falls dangerously short for Latinos

On Jan. 6, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposal to strengthen the annual standards for fine particulate matter, commonly known as soot, from 12 ug/m3 to between 9 and 10 ug/m3, despite an overwhelming body of evidence showing that stronger limits are necessary to mitigate the decades of harm soot pollution has caused, particularly to the country’s Latino population.

Due to its small size, soot can penetrate our lungs and bloodstream, causing devastating health impacts, including premature deathheart diseasecancer and aggravated asthma, among others. It is one of the reasons the Latino population has a relatively high rate of asthma, with approximately 3.8 million American Latinos grappling with — and in some cases dying from — the chronic lung disease.

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