Air pollution is a mixture of natural and man-made substances in the air we breathe. It is typically separated into two categories: outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution. The Ambient Monitoring Program monitors for outdoor air pollution.
Monitoring Air Quality
The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify pollutants that may endanger public health or welfare. Georgia and other states help the EPA measure for these pollutants.
Under the CAA, the EPA sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six common air pollutants, also referred to as “criteria” pollutants based on the current science about their health effects. The NAAQS are divided into primary standards that protect public health and secondary standards that protect the public welfare and environment.
EPA reviews the NAAQS periodically (typically every 5 years) and changes the standards based on the latest scientific data concerning the health effects of air pollution. Learn more about the NAAQS.
These pollutants can harm your health and the environment, and cause property damage. Of the six pollutants, particle pollution and ground-level ozone are the most widespread health threats. EPA calls these pollutants “criteria” air pollutants because it regulates them by developing human health-based and/or environmentally-based criteria (science-based guidelines) for setting permissible levels. The set of limits based on human health is called primary standards. Another set of limits intended to prevent environmental and property damage (such as ozone damage to crops, or acidic deposits damaging buildings) is called secondary standards.
Where does Air Pollution come from in Georgia
The list below shows the most common air pollutants in Georgia and the percentage contribution from these sources of pollutants. Mobile sources, including on-road vehicles and construction equipment, contribute greatly to pollution in Georgia, especially around densely populated cities like in the Atlanta Metro area.
*CO is more of a concern for indoor air quality than it is for outside air quality
The main pollutant of concern in Georgia is ground-level ozone in metro Atlanta.