DefinitionUnhealthful days are determined by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, which include standards for carbon monoxide, coarse particulate matter (PM-10), lead, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide
NumeratorTotal number of unhealthful days throughout the state, as determined by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, attributable to carbon monoxide, coarse particulate matter (PM-10), lead, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide
Why Is This Important?The air in New Jersey is affected by many naturally occurring and man-made pollutants. Air quality in the state varies significantly depending on location, time and weather conditions. High or prolonged levels of air pollution are associated with increases in morbidity and mortality from respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and lung cancer. The Clean Air Act requires that National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) be set for carbon monoxide, PM-10, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone.
Other Objectives'''Healthy New Jersey 2020 Objective EH-1''': Reduce to zero the number of unhealthful days throughout the state, as determined by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, attributable to carbon monoxide, coarse particulate matter (PM-10), lead, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
How Are We Doing?During 2012-2018, there were no air quality exceedances in New Jersey for carbon monoxide, coarse particulate matter (PM-10), or lead.
In 2010, the health standards for nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide were revised downward creating stricter air quality standards for New Jersey. Using the new standards, the NO2 standard was exceeded twice in 2010, twice in 2014, 4 times in 2015, and 2 times in 2018. The revised SO2 standard was exceeded 4 times in 2010, 27 times in 2011, once in 2012, 4 times in 2013, 7 times in 2014, and 2 times in 2016. All 2010-2014 SO2 exceedances were measured at a single air monitoring station located in Warren County, NJ.
NJDEP has determined that a coal-burning power plant located in Pennsylvania, directly across the Delaware River from New Jersey, was the source of the numerous exceedances of the SO2 health standard in Warren County from 2011 to 2014. New Jersey petitioned the USEPA to take action to reduce emissions from the plant, and negotiated an enforceable agreement to shut down its 2 coal units. The plant stopped operating in 2014, and since then there have been no SO2 exceedances in that area.
The NO2 exceedances occurred at two air monitoring sites. One monitoring site is located in Bayonne and the other site is at Exit 13 of the New Jersey Turnpike in Elizabeth. NO2 is a combustion product emitted by both stationary and mobile sources, especially those burning diesel fuel.
What Is Being Done?The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) continues to work to reduce pollution from both mobile sources (eg, cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, trains), and stationary sources (eg, factories, power plants, gas stations, other industrial activities). NJDEP will continue to monitor and identify air pollutants and their sources, using continuous air monitoring stations located throughout New Jersey.
Health Program InformationNJDEP Division of Air Quality, Bureau for Air Quality Planning: