The New Jersey EPHT Network is making available important information on New Jersey’s air quality. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for enforcing state and federal laws that protect air quality. The NJDEP maintains an extensive network of air quality monitors located throughout New Jersey to evaluate compliance with these laws.
What Information Does the EPHT Network Contain About Air Quality in New Jersey?
Fine Particulate Matter:
Particles of various sizes are added to New Jersey’s air by the numerous trucks, cars, and buses that travel on our roads, and by industrial emissions. Fine particles, those that are less than 2.5 microns in diameter, are also known as PM2.5. These fine particles are important to health because they can be inhaled deep into the lungs where they can impair lung function and cause tissue damage.
Ozone is a gas that forms when pollutants from cars and power plants react in the atmosphere with heat and sunlight. Breathing high levels of ozone can cause coughing and pain in the chest and throat. Effects are more severe in people with asthma and other respiratory ailments.
Toxic Air Pollutants:
There are many chemical pollutants emitted into the air from industrial, residential and mobile sources, in quantities which may cause harm to human health. While there are no national standards governing these pollutants, in 1990 the U.S. Congress directed the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to begin to address a list of almost 200 of these air toxics by developing control technology standards. This particular list of air toxics is known as Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs).
Where Can I Get More Information about Air Quality?
Extensive information on air quality in New Jersey is available from the NJDEP’s Division of Air Quality. The USEPA presents air quality data from around the country at its Air Now web site. In addition, New Jersey maintains an unhealthy air quality forecast notification e-mail system through the United States Environmental Protection Agency's EnviroFlash notification system. EnviroFlash is a free e-mail alert system that delivers important air quality information straight to your inbox or cell phone. Sign-up today at: www.enviroflash.info.
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