Improving Air Quality
What’s the story?
Improved air quality is a priority of the New Jersey Departments of Health (NJDOH) and Environmental Protection (NJDEP). Ensuring the air is clean is important from both a public health and a public welfare perspective. Welfare impacts of air pollution include damage to plants and other property. Health effects can be short term (acute) or long term and become chronic.
By the Numbers
Air quality in New Jersey has been improving as the State continues to exceed the health benchmarks for many toxic emissions. Added emphasis on controlling emissions from diesel engines has been required due to the severe adverse health effects associated with exposure to the components of diesel particles. Efforts to control these emissions have resulted in improvements of the emission densities for diesel particulate matter (0.0033 micrograms of diesel particulate matter per cubic meter of air).
Surveillance of air quality is conducted regularly to ensure that the State meets national Ambient Air Quality Standards. New Jersey uses an air monitoring program called the Air Quality Index (AQI) compares five of six pollutants for which there are national health-based standards to the federal standards in order to assign an air quality rating such as "good" or "unhealthy."
The DOH and DEP are continuing to expand the New Jersey Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Network, which is part of a national network being developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both Departments collect data on health, human exposures and environmental hazards and the EPHT Network seeks to bring this information together as a resource for the public, government officials, health care providers, community organizations, and researchers.
Did you know?
In the past 5 years, air pollution decreased by 37 percent from 12.5 to 9.1 micrograms of fine particulate matter per cubic meter.
Fine particles are of greatest health concern since they can be breathed deep into the respiratory tract. Exposure to these particles can lead to asthma attacks, coughing, and shortness of breath, bronchitis, lung cancer, and premature death.
To Learn More
For more information, please refer to these resources:
* Rate per 100,000 population
† Only one year of data currently available