EPA?s Air Trend Data Shows Improvements

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The Environmental Protection Agency has monitored the amount of certain particulates in the air on a national and local level with favorable results.

The EPA provides data on the amount of Carbon Monoxide, Ground Level Ozone, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate Matter, and Sulfur Dioxide in various locations throughout the United States. Fortunately, the data demonstrates that over the past 20 years, the national average of the amount of the particulates in the air has decreased. The noted decrease in the national average from 1980 to 2008 is as follows: Carbon Monoxide has decreased 79%, Ground Level Ozone has decreased 25%, Lead has decreased 92%, Nitrogen Dioxide has decreased 46% and Sulfur Dioxide has decreased 71%. From 2000 to 2008, Particulate Matter has decreased 19%. (Ground Level Ozone is not desired. Ozone (O3) is a gas composed of three oxygen atoms. It is not usually emitted directly into the air, but at ground-level is created by a chemical reaction between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight.)

The EPA also makes the data available for specific areas of the country. To access the data, visit www.epa.gov/airtrends. Then click on Carbon Monoxide, Ground Level Ozone, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate Matter, or Sulfur Dioxide, and select the state that is of interest.

James J.A. Mulhall
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