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Health Indicator Report of Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in Outdoor Air

Particulate matter (PM) is a mixture of solid particles such as dust, ash, smoke and droplets in the air. PM can be emitted directly from a source (e.g., smoke stacks, tail pipes or construction sites) or can form in the atmosphere from chemicals emitted by power plants, industries and cars. Fine particles -- 2.5 microns in diameter or less (PM2.5) -- are of greatest health concern since they can be breathed deep into the respiratory tract. Exposure to these particles can lead to asthma attacks, coughing, shortness of breath, bronchitis, lung cancer, and premature death.


Exceedances displayed are only for counties with PM 2.5 monitors.

Data Source

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


Percent of days (and number of person-days) in which the average concentration of fine particulate matter exceeds the regulatory standard at a monitoring point. Fine particulate matter is defined as particles that are 2.5 microns in diameter or less (PM2.5).


Number of days in a year in which the PM2.5 concentration at a monitor exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter, averaged over 24 hours; or number of person-days, which is the product of the percent of days with a PM2.5 exceedance, times the population of the geographic area (county) represented by a monitor or model result, times 365 days.


For percent of days: number of days in a year

How Are We Doing?

New Jersey's Particulate Monitoring Network consists of 21 PM2.5 monitoring sites, 2 PM10 monitoring sites, and 3 sites where smoke shade is monitored. A third PM10 monitoring site at Trenton was discontinued in March 2011 due to many years of low concentrations. Air quality in New Jersey has been improving. More stringent federal health-based standards for fine particulates, promulgated in 1997, require states to do more to protect human health. New Jersey's air monitoring program evaluates hourly air quality readings using the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI uses five of the six pollutants for which there are national health-based standards (ground-level ozone, particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide) and compares the composite pollutant levels to the federal standards in order to assign an air quality rating such as "good"or "unhealthy". In 2016, the annual mean concentrations of PM2.5 ranged from 6.0 ug/m3 at the Morris County monitoring site to 10.3 ug/m3 at the Union County monitoring site. No sites were in violation of either the newer annual standard of 12.0 ug/m3 or the older 15.0 ug/m3 standard. On December 14, 2012, the EPA promulgated a revised annual standard of 12.0 ug/m3, down from 15.0 ug/m3, that was published as a final rule in the Federal Register on January 15, 2013. The new standard took effect on March 18, 2013. The 24-hour standard was unchanged and remains at 35 ug/m3.

What Is Being Done?

New Jersey has put added emphasis on controlling emissions from diesel engines due to the severe adverse health effects associated with exposure to the components of diesel particles. Success story: Recommendations for Reducing Smog Throughout NJ and Beyond [] Success story: Air Quality and Asthma in NJ Children [] Success story: Collaborating to Diminish Smog and Improve Health in NJ []

Available Services

The NJDEP's Bureau of Air Monitoring measures air pollution levels in New Jersey around the clock and compare them to national health standards. Updates and forecasts are sent to the wire services and other media, and health advisories are also issued when air pollution reaches unhealthful levels. The NJDEP's Bureau of Air Monitoring web site contains information on current air quality as well as historic trends. The web site is: [] The USEPA compiles air quality data from around the country and presents it to the public on the following web site: [] The NJDEP will notify interested people and organizations via e-mail when unhealthy air quality is forecast. To sign up for this service, send an e-mail message to with one line in the message body (not in the subject): subscribe airadvisory. You will get two messages in reply; copy the authorization line from the "Confirmation" message and send it as the only line in your message, back to Throughout the year, as part of the nightly news, New Jersey Network TV broadcasts a map showing the next day's air quality forecast for the different regions of the state. Check your TV listings for channel information.
Page Content Updated On 05/09/2019, Published on 05/09/2019
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Tue, 10 December 2019 20:20:07 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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