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Air Quality Awareness Week, May 3-7
Monday, April 29: Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) – Wood Smoke

Did You Know? Fine Particulate Matter has been linked to many adverse health impacts, including asthma attacks, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Wood smoke contains large amounts of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which pose a significant health risk, and is one of the largest sources of fine particles in New Jersey.

NJ Rules to Reduce Your Exposure: N.J.A.C.7:27-3, “Control and Prohibition of Smoke from Combustion of Fuel” includes Outdoor Wood Boilers, Compliance and Enforcement Advisory for outdoor wood boilers, New Jersey Local Ordinances and Materials for controlling wood smoke and smoke from outdoor wood boilers.

Action: Follow best practices for burning wood. Burn only dry well-seasoned hardwood. Never use gasoline, kerosene or propane torch to start a fire! Upgrade to a cleaner USEPA-certified wood stove, or a USEPA-certified fireplace insert. They burn cleaner and emit less particle pollution.

How? Visit USEPA’s Burnwise webpage for best burn practices.

Tuesday, April 30: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Consumer Products
light bulb

Did You Know? Paints, varnishes, stains, hairspray, deodorants, shaving gels, cleaners, air fresheners, cooking sprays and glue are examples of common products we use everyday that may  contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a pollutant that contributes to ground level ozone (or smog) and hazardous air pollutants.

NJ Rules and Program(s) to Reduce Your Exposure:  N.J.A.C . 7: 27-24, “Prevention of Air Pollution from Consumer Products , N.J.A.C. 7:27-23, “Prevention of Air Pollution from Architectural Coatings”, N.J.A.C. 7:27-26, “Prevention of Air Pollution from Adhesives, Sealant, Adhesive Primers, and Sealant Primers.”

Action: Avoid painting or cleaning on really hot days.  Purchase consumer products and paints with little or no VOCs.

How? Before you paint, check your local forecast using the Air Quality Index (AQI) at  If it is an orange or red day, avoid using products containing VOCs.  These are usually hot days when painting would not be comfortable, so it’s a good excuse not to paint or clean.

Wednesday, May 1: Ozone (O3) - Cars
car exhaust

Did You Know? Idling vehicles cause fuel not to combust completely, causing an increase in harmful emissions.  When you idle your vehicle, you, as well as the people around you, are breathing in a lot of those harmful fuel components.  Vehicles that idle for only 10 minutes per day waste more than 29 gallons of fuel each year.  So reduce your idling time whenever you can: walk short distances instead of taking the car, park and go in to the fast food restaurant or bank instead of using the drive-thru, and don’t idle to heat or cool the interior of the vehicle.

NJ Rules and Programs to Reduce Your Exposure: N.J.A.C. 7:27-15 “Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Gasoline-Fueled Motor Vehicles”.

Action: Improve your air, and everyone else’s, when you are behind the wheel.  Do not let your car idle for more than 3 minutes. It is the law! It will save you fuel and money, as well as benefit your health.

How? Consider these FACTS - 
Myth: Idling for a long time helps the engine warm up. FALSE.                                                                  
Fact: Cars need less than 30 seconds of idle time, even during cold weather, before it is ready to go.

Myth: Idling for a few minutes is more fuel efficient, better for the engine, and saves the starter, instead of turning the engine on and off. FALSE.                                                                                                    
: Only 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than turning the engine on and off.  Excessive idling causes the car to run inefficiently, leading to an increase in vehicle maintenance and a decrease in engine life.

Myth: Idling your car for a while is the best way to warm up/cool down the interior. FALSE.                               Fact: The best way to heat or cool the inside of your car is to operate it at its peak performance parameter, which is while driving, and not while idling.  It can take more than twice as long to change the temperature by idling instead of driving.

Visit for more information.

Thursday, May 2: Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) - Diesel Engines

Did You Know? Diesel Emissions contain more than 40 known and probable carcinogens, and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), commonly called soot.  Every year, hundreds of New Jerseyans die prematurely or suffer asthma attacks or other debilitating respiratory illnesses from harmful diesel soot. Pursuant to a New Jersey law, thousands of school buses, garbage trucks, and transit buses have been retrofit with diesel emission control devices to reduce their emissions. In addition, construction equipment used on various projects throughout the state are being retrofit with particle control devices to minimize impacts from the projects.

NJ Rules and Program(s) to Reduce Your Exposure: N.J.A.C. 7:27-32 “Diesel Retrofit Program”, N.J.A.C 7:27-14 “Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution from Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicles (Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program)”N.J.S.A. 26:2C-8 “Mandatory Program Statute.”

Action: Spread the word about diesel emissions reduction. Do not idle your vehicle for more than 3 minutes.

How? Encourage your township to implement diesel emission reduction measures, such as increased idling enforcement and purchase of new, cleaner diesel vehicles and equipment. Also ask your township to consider requiring that equipment used in local construction contracts be retrofitted or the newest model year. A limited amount of funding is available for construction retrofits by calling (609) 292-7953. Visit for more information.

Friday, May 3: Air Toxics – Dry Cleaners and Consumer Products

Did You Know?Perchloroethylene, also known as perc, is a cancer-causing chemical used in dry cleaning, automotive repair products such as brake cleaners, carburetor or fuel-injection cleaners and engine degreasers, and in other consumer products, such as footwear and leather care products and adhesive removers.

NJ Rules and Program(s) to Reduce Your Exposure: N.J.A.C. 7:27-17, “Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution by Toxic Substances”, N.J.A.C. 7:27-24, “Prevention of Air Pollution from Consumer Products” including automotive repair cleaning products, and footwear and leather care products, Dry Cleaner Reimbursement Program, Pollution Prevention Program Guidance, Other Initiatives.

Action: Buy clothing that doesn’t require dry cleaning.  For dry cleaning, patronize “Green Dry Cleaning Facilities” that utilize other solvents or professional wet cleaning techniques. Look at the label and make sure the consumer products you purchased are Perchloroethylene free.

How? Visit New Jersey's Air Toxics webpage for What You Can Do!



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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Modified: April 23, 2013

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