NTAA: Air Topics

NTAA Air Topics:

NAAQS - Particulate Matter (PM)

The Clean Air Act, which was last amended in 1990, requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (40 CFR part 50) for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. The Clean Air Act established two types of national air quality standards. Primary standards set limits to protect public health, including the health of "sensitive" populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly. Secondary standards set limits to protect public welfare, including protection against decreased visibility, damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings.

The EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS) has set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for six principal pollutants, which are called "criteria" pollutants. They are listed below. Units of measure for the standards are parts per million (ppm) by volume, milligrams per cubic meter of air (mg/m3), and micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m3).

"Particulate matter," also known as particle pollution or PM, is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particle pollution is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles.

The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects. EPA groups particle pollution into two categories:

Significance to Tribes
NTAA Documents

NTAA Analysis - Final Rule for NAAQS Particulate Matter - 2006

NTAA PM NAAAQS public hearing request - March 2, 2006

NTAA PM coarse comment letter - DRAFT - November 22, 2005

Related Documents

American Heart Association - Study on people with diabetes and vulnerability to cardiovascular health effects associated with exposure to P.M. - 2005

Related Links

American Lung Association - Particulate Matter website

EPA Particulate Matter website

EPA Particulate Matter Designations