For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency has restricted emissions from existing cement kilns. The regulations aim to reduce, by 2013, the annual emissions of mercury and particulate matter by 92%, hydrochloric acid by 97% and sulfur dioxide by 78%.
Regulators predict the new rules will stave off thousands of premature heart and lung deaths each year attributed to particulate pollution - not to mention asthma attacks.
You're reading about this here on Shifting Gears why? California is the nation's largest producer of cement.
EPA analysts estimate the rules will trigger $926 - $950 million in annual compliance costs nationwide in 2013. Cement producers say it'll cost them "several billion dollars" to install pollution scrubbers - and they warn of plant closures to come in the US.
KQED Reporter Amy Standen did an excellent report on the pollution back in 2008: