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The air quality industry sure loves its acronyms. AQI, PM, NAAQS – what does it all mean?

Here are some common industry terms that will have you talking air quality jargon like a pro!

AQI: Air Quality Index, the industry standard for informing the public about air quality for any given city or region in the United States.

CTG: Control techniques guidelines are EPA documents designed to assist state and local air quality agencies to achieve and maintain air quality standards for specific sources. 

U.S. EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency, an independent federal agency responsible for maintaining and enforcing national standards for clean air and water. The EPA was founded on July 9, 1970.

NAAQS: National Ambient Air Quality Standards: these are ambient air pollution limitations  enforced across the country for six air pollutants that the U.S. EPA has identified as being harmful to public health. They are ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and particulate matter.

NCore: a multi-pollutant ambient air monitoring station that is part of a national core network of similar sites across the country. The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency’s NCore site is located at its main offices in Corryville.

NOx: Nitrogen oxides, are collectively referred to as “nocks”. Nitrogen oxides can be found in vehicle and industrial emissions. They aggravate breathing, especially for those who respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

ppb: Parts per billion, the unit of measurement for some gaseous pollutant concentrations. One part per billion means one molecule out of one billion total molecules.
For example, the EPA standard for sulfur dioxide is 75 ppb. Concentrations that surpass 75 ppb as a one-hour average are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

PM: Particulate matter, also known as particle pollution. PM is measured in two size fractions: PM10 and PM2.5, referring to the microns in diameter of the particles. 

VOC: volatile organic compounds, are gases emitted from certain liquids and solids that may contribute to the formation of ozone. Examples of common products that include VOCs are oil-based paints and gasoline.

Want to learn more? The EPA has 1,987 terms and acronyms in its online glossary!

Posted by joy.landry On 11 March, 2020 at 9:55 AM  

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