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Governmental environmental protection is commonly implemented by specifying a standard value of pollution, measured or actual, not to be exceeded. This article considers the standard for ozone pollution in the United States, interprets it using a hypothesis testing framework, and shows (in a simplified setting) how a statistician could implement this standard. The statistician's implementation is contrasted with the implementation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some of the issues raised by these contrasting implementations are illustrated using ozone data from three areas in the United States. This article also examines potential biases in using data collected for standard compliance monitoring purposes to assess the health effects of ozone.
Peter Guttorp is professor and chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of Washington. He is also the director of the National Research Center for Statistics and the Environment, a multidisciplinary group of environmetricians. His research is focused on the methodology for scientific problems in atmospheric science, environmental science, and hematology. He has published two monographs and numerous scientific articles.