Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (May 31, 2002) – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its national-scale air toxics assessment (NATA) which presents nationwide estimates of exposure and health risks associated with urban air toxics.

In response to that release, Merrylin Zaw-Mon, Acting Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), issued the following statement:

“We do not want our citizens to be unduly alarmed by the release of this data. The EPA issued a disclaimer with their release noting that the data should not be used to evaluate local situations.

“It is important to note that the EPA assessment is based on 1996 data. In Maryland we have achieved significant toxic emission reductions since then and the data, as released, does not accurately reflect the current air quality in Maryland, nor our on-going efforts to improve it,” she said.

Maryland has had a nationally recognized air toxics control program in place since 1986, which looks at virtually all significant sources of air toxic emissions and requires that these sources meet tough regulatory requirements. State requirements have a technology and risk assessment component designed to protect public health.

“Governor Glendening has made clean air a priority in our state, and we will continue to take all necessary steps to protect the health of Marylanders and the air we all breathe,” Zaw-Mon said.