EPA finalizes NAAQS for particulate matter. US standards are more stringent compared to other jurisdictions

January 9, 2021

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on December 7th its final decision to retain the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM) set in 2015 by the Obama administration according to a December 8, 2020 DieselNet report.

  • These NAAQS standards for particulate matter include:
    • Primary (health) standards for fine particles (PM2.5):
      An annual average standard of 12.0 μg/m3.
    • A 24-hour standard of 35 μg/m3.
  • Primary (health) standard for coarse particles (PM10)—A 24-hour standard of 150 μg/m3.
  • Secondary (welfare) standards for particle pollution—EPA’s secondary standards for particle pollution are identical to the primary standards for PM2.5 and PM10, except for the secondary annual PM2.5 standard which has a level of 15.0 μg/m3.

The US NAAQS standards for PM are relatively stringent compared to other jurisdictions. The European Union, for instance, has an annual PM2.5 standard of 25 μg/m3, more than twice the US EPA standard of 12 μg/m3. The WHO air quality guideline for ambient PM2.5 is 10 μg/m3—a value adopted as an ambient air quality standard in Australia, Canada, Iran, Switzerland, UK and some other countries.

The EPA decision not to increase the stringency of existing PM standards was criticized by some public health advocates, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and praised by some industry groups, such as the American Petroleum Institute (API).

The EPA is under legal obligation to review the NAAQS every five years to determine whether they should be retained or revised.

What this means to you
On December 7th EPA announced its final decision to retain the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM) set in 2015 by the Obama administration. Health advocates criticized the decision. Some industry groups praised it. US standards are more stringent than many jurisdictions.

MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH for stationary engine particulate matter control.