These six pollutants are known as criteria pollutants because they have National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for protecting human health and welfare. The standards are established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and monitoring is carried out by state, local and tribal governments to determine whether the standards are being met. If an area does not meet one or more of the NAAQS, it is designated by the EPA as a “nonattainment area,” and the state must develop a plan of action to meet the standard.
*NOTE: Lead is both a criteria pollutant and a “hazardous air pollutant” (HAP).
Information on levels of criteria pollutants in New Jersey can be found in the annual Air Quality Report.