POLLUTION LOCATOR|Smog and Particulates|Report Descriptions

Criteria Air Pollutant Report Descriptions

This report presents information about the six criteria air pollutants (carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide) that have National Ambient Air Quality Standards established by the Clean Air Act. The report allows you to rank your community based on pollutant emissions, exposures and potential health risks, breaks down which pollutants and which sources contribute most to criteria air pollution problems, and provides you with opportunities to take action. See Scorecard's overview of criteria air pollution problems.

Data Source: Scorecard's emissions and exposure information for criteria air pollutants is derived from two U.S. EPA sources: the National Emissions Trend database and and the Aerometric Information Retrieval System database.

NOTE: This report only covers the six pollutants for which EPA has established National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Scorecard offers other reports that profile hazardous air pollutants and chemical releases from manufacturing facilities. Criteria air pollutant emissions data are only available for 1999, while exposure monitoring data are available for 2002. Many U.S. counties do not have criteria air pollutant monitoring stations, so it is not possible to describe pollutant exposures of characterize potential health risks in these areas.

Maps Characterizing Criteria Air Pollution Sources and Health Risks
Scorecard provides maps at the national and state level that show you whether or not your county is in attainment with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and maps at the county and facility level that show you where the polluting facilities are located. Maps display information about the extent of Clean Air Act air quality violations in an area, as well as figures illustrating criteria air pollutant emissions.
More on Scorecard's mapper.

Air Quality Rankings: Health Risks, Exposure and Emissions
Scorecard gives you a way to compare air quality in your community with other communities across the U.S. Scorecard highlights the counties, states, facilities, and monitoring stations that rank in the top 20% for health risks, exposures, or emissions of criteria air pollutants.

Only areas with air quality monitoring data can be ranked in terms of criteria air pollutant exposures or health risks. Virtually all areas states, counties, or facilities can be ranked by emissions of criteria air pollutants. More on rankings.

Environmental Justice Analysis
Inequities in environmental burden can be examined by identifying particular geographic areas and demographic groups that may be disparately affected by pollution.
More on environmental justice.

Health Risks
Scorecard provides information to help you characterize the health risks associated with criteria air pollution in your area.

Population Exposed to Unhealthy Levels of Criteria Air Pollutants: For each criteria air pollutant, Scorecard calculates the number of person-days that your county or state was in exceedance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in 2002. This indicates how often people experienced air quality that is is in violation of Clean Air Act standards in your area.

Increased Health Risks to Average Individual from Exceedances of the PM NAAQS: Scorecard estimates the increased risk of adverse health effects associated with exposure to unsafe levels of particulate matter. The added risk of adverse health effects such as premature mortality and respiratory problems are expressed as the predicted increase in occurences of an effect per 100,000 persons exposed. More on how Scorecard estimates the health risks posed by exceedances of the PM standard.

Exposures to Criteria Air Pollutants
Scorecard presents three measures of whether your community is exposed to unhealthy concentrations of criteria air pollutants.

Nonattainment Status: How clean is the air that your community is breathing? Scorecard tells you whether your county is in a designated nonattainment area for persistently failing to meet air quality standards, and indicates which pollutants are responsible.

Pollutant Standards Index: Scorecard indicates the percentage of days in 2001 that your county's air was good, moderate, or unhealthful -- as defined by EPA's Pollutant Standards Index.

Summary of Pollutant Concentrations: Scorecard provides an overall summary of 2002 pollutant concentrations for the counties with available air quality monitoring data. Scorecard provides each pollutant's National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), its highest recorded concentration, its second highest recorded concentration, its number of NAAQS exceedances, and the number of stations monitoring for it.

Criteria Air Pollutant Emissions Summary
Scorecard presents emissions data on mobile, area, and point sources from the U.S. EPA's
National Emissions Trends database (1999). It provides an overview of the most important sources of criteria air pollution in a area. You can click on any summary emissions values to find out more details about it. For facilities, Scorecard provides a detailed breakdown of various emissions sources, such as industrial processes or organic solvent evaporation.

Take Action
If you are concerned about air pollution in your area, Environmental Defense encourages you to take action. Scorecard provides the opportunity to send an email message to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Governor of your state in support of efforts to reduce emissions of criteria air pollutants and improve air quality.

Discussion Forum is the place to voice your views, ask questions, or give answers about local air pollution, polluters and pollutants. This forum is for discussions about any local sources of pollution that may concern you. Find out what people are saying about a company, or meet others working on environmental problems in your community.

Scorecard reports lead you to environmental volunteer opportunities in your community. The VolunteerMatch service shows you a list of available opportunities, and lets you specify how far you want to travel and how often you want to offer your support. Scorecard also gives you a list of environmental organizations in your area that you can contact to work with on local pollution problems.

Facility and Monitoring Station Information
Scorecard provides address, contact information (where available), and the SIC classification for facilities. For monitoring stations, Scorecard provides address, location type, and the primary land use of the surrounding area.

To make it easier to get more information on air quality in your area, Scorecard provides links to a range of useful online resources. Links to Scorecard reports on hazardous air pollutants or chemical releases from manufacturing facilities can fill out the picture of which chemicals contribute to air quality conditions in your community. Links to Real-Time Air Monitoring in counties across the U.S. give you access to current hourly readings of criteria air pollutant levels. Links to State Implementation Plans give greater detail on your state's plan for coming into compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards. You will also find links to the state regulatory agency responsible for air quality in your state.