Criteria Pollutants

Criteria Pollutants

The air quality monitoring program consists of monitoring for the EPA criteria pollutants, ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead (Pb), and particulate matter 10 micrometers (PM10) and 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5).

Source- chemical reaction of pollutants in the presence of sunlight; nitrogen oxides (Nox) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Health Effects- reduced lung function, breathing problems, asthma, irritates eyes, reduced resistance to colds and other infections, may speed up aging of lung tissue.

Environmental Effects
- ozone can damage plants and trees; smog can cause reduced visibility.

Property Damage- Damages rubber, fabrics.

Carbon Monoxide
Source- burning of gasoline, natural gas, coal, oil.

Health Effects- reduces ability of blood to bring oxygen to body cells and tissues; cells and tissues need oxygen to work. Carbon monoxide may be particularly hazardous to people who have heart or circulatory (blood vessel) problems and people who have damaged lungs or breathing passages

Nitrogen Dioxide
Source- burning of gasoline, natural gas, coal, oil. Cars are an important source of NO2.

Health Effects- lung damage, illnesses of breathing passages and lungs (respiratory system).

Environmental Effects- nitrogen dioxide is an ingredient of acid rain (acid aerosols), which can damage trees and lakes. Acid aerosols can reduce visibility.

Property Damage-
acid aerosols can eat away stone used on buildings, statues, monuments.

Sulfur Dioxide
Source- burning of coal and oil, especially high-sulfur coal from the Eastern United States, industrial processes (paper, metals).

Health Effects- breathing problems, may cause permanent damage to lungs.

Environmental Effects- SO2 is an ingredient in acid rain (acid aerosols), which can damage trees and lakes. Acid aerosols can also reduce visibility.

Property Damage- acid aerosols can eat away stone used in buildings, statues, monuments.

Particulate Matter
Source- burning of wood, diesel and other fuels; industrial plants; agriculture (plowing, burning off fields); unpaved roads.

Health Effects- nose and throat irritation, lung damage, bronchitis, early death.

Environmental Effects- particulates are the main source of haze that reduces visibility.

Property Damage- ashes, soots, smokes and dusts can dirty and discolor structures and other property, including clothes and furniture.

Source- smelters (metal refineries); manufacture of lead storage batteries; paint (houses and cars).

Health Effects- brain and other nervous system damage; children are at special risk. Some lead-containing chemicals cause cancer in animals. Lead causes digestive and other health problems.

Environmental Effects- lead can harm wildlife.
*Criteria pollutant facts taken from EPA, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards

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