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What is Ozone?
What is Particle Pollution?
Air Pollution Impacts Your Health
Air Quality Forecasts
Air Quality and Your Health (brochure in .pdf)
Tips for Reducing Ozone
Kids Page




Cleaner air for Tennessee

Tennessee's air quality has improved dramatically since the federal Clean Air Act was passed in 1970. Until just recently, all of Tennessee complied with all federal air quality health standards. Nevertheless, some Tennessee counties do not meet stricter new federal health standards for ground-level ozone and particulate matter (PM 2.5). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set new health standards based on scientific evidence of health impacts from these pollutants.

What is air pollution?

When particulate matter (very tiny specks of solids or liquid droplets) or certain gases (chemicals that hang in the air) are present in the air, the air is polluted. Many of the gases are invisible.

Air pollution comes from many different sources such as factories, power plants, dry cleaners, cars, buses, trucks and even wind-blown dust and wildfires. Air pollution can threaten the health of human beings, trees, lakes, crops, and animals, as well as damage the ozone layer, buildings and materials. Air pollution also can cause haze, which reduces visibility in national parks and wilderness areas.

Why should we be concerned about air pollution?

In many U.S. cities, activities such as driving cars and trucks; burning coal, oil, and other fossil fuels; and manufacturing chemicals pollute the air we breathe. Air pollution can even come from smaller, everyday activities such as dry cleaning, filling your car with gas, and degreasing and painting operations. These activities add gases and particles to the air we breathe. When these gases and particles accumulate in the air in high enough concentrations, they can harm our health and our environment. Larger populations in cities and surrounding counties lead to more cars, trucks, industrial and commercial operations, and generally means more pollution.

Air pollution is a problem for all of us. The average adult breathes over 3,000 gallons of air every day. Children breathe even more air per pound of body weight and are more susceptible to air pollution. Many air pollutants remain in the environment for long periods and are carried by the winds hundreds of miles from their origin. Millions of people live in areas where ozone, very small particles and toxic pollutants pose serious health concerns.

Air pollution can make you sick, damage the environment, damage property, cause haze (which reduces visibility) and costs us money.