What are the National Ambient Air Quality Standards?

The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) were established in the original Clean Air Act (CAA) and revised in 1990. NAAQS are standards set for each air pollutant anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. Pollutants in this category, termed criteria pollutants, include:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Lead
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Particulate matter
  • Sulfur dioxide

There are two types of air quality standards. The primary standard is designed to protect public health with an adequate safety margin. Permissible levels of each pollutant were chosen to protect the health of the most susceptible individuals in a population, including children, the elderly, and those with chronic respiratory illnesses. The secondary standard is designed to protect public welfare and ensure quality of life. Air quality conditions described by the secondary standard may be the same as the primary standard and are chosen to limit economic damage as well as harmful effects to buildings, plants, and animals. The Kansas Ambient Air Monitoring Network measures six criteria air pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates the Air Quality Index (AQI) for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act (CAA):

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Ground-level ozone
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Particulate matter (PM)
  • Sulfur dioxide

Show All Answers

1. What is the Bureau of Air Monitoring and Planning Section?
2. What are the National Ambient Air Quality Standards?
3. Where does air pollution come from in Kansas?
4. What are the health effects of poor air quality?
5. How do I find out the air quality in Kansas?