The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) has criticized a recent move by the Central American Customs Union to ease standards for sulfur emissions in diesel fumes.
The union established a new 0.5% maximum acceptable level for sulfur emissions, an increase over the 0.4% limit previously in effect and the 0.35% limit set as a goal for 2007.
In reducing its standards, the union took a step backward in protecting Costa Rica’s environment and public health, said a statement from ARESEP.
Sulfur can cause health problems including irritation of the cornea, difficulty breathing, heart problems and collapse of the circulation system. Sulfur fumes can also exacerbate asthma and chronic bronchitis in children and elderly adults.
Vegetation, soil and water can also be damaged by sulfur.
ARESEP is calling on the Economy, Industry and Commerce Ministry (MEIC) to set higher standards for diesel fuel in order to reduce sulfur emissions in Costa Rica.
The agency also denounced the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE) for allegedly producing diesel fuel with exceedingly higher quantities of sulfur, according to Channel 7 TV News.