After years of work, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that it is proposing approval of the state?s request to reclassify the greater Baton Rouge area as meeting the 1997 8-hour ozone standard.
Preliminary air quality data for 2011 continues to show that the area meets the 1997 8-hour standard of 84 parts per billion.
The proposed reclassification includes the five-parish area around East Baton Rouge Parish including Ascension, Iberville, Livingston and East and West Baton Rouge parishes.
Ozone is a pollution that forms when nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons from car exhaust, industrial activities and other sources combine in the air during hot and sunny days. When there isn?t much wind, the ozone pollution can accumulate and cause health problems.
Although EPA is currently reconsidering what level a new 8-hour ozone standard will be, it won?t impact Wednesday?s action, according to an EPA press release. A final decision on the new standard is expected soon.