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
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
Why should we be concerned about air
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
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.