DefinitionMean of modeled annual average naphthalene concentration for census tracts in a county using 2014 NATA data
NumeratorModeled mean naphthalene concentration in micrograms per cubic meter
Why Is This Important?Naphthalene has been used as a household fumigant, such as in mothballs or moth flakes. Large amounts of naphthalene are used as a chemical intermediate to produce other chemicals. Exposure to naphthalene happens mostly from breathing air contaminated from the burning of wood, tobacco, or fossil fuels, industrial discharges, or moth repellents.
Exposure to high levels of naphthalene may damage or destroy red blood cells. Children and adults have developed this condition, known as hemolytic anemia, after ingesting mothballs or deodorant blocks containing naphthalene. Symptoms include fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea, restlessness, and pale skin. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies naphthalene as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
How Are We Doing?Most New Jersey counties exceed the health benchmark of 0.029 micrograms of naphthalene per cubic meter of air. The highest ambient air concentrations can be found in Hudson, Camden, and Bergen Counties.
What Is Being Done?Industrial facilities that emit this chemical must obtain permits from the NJDEP Air Program and are also subject to state and federal air pollution control technology requirements.