Non-Attainment Area

Last updated: January 9, 2017

What Does Non-Attainment Area Mean?

A non-attainment area is any area that does not meet either primary, secondary or national standards for ambient air quality as directed by the Clean Air Act (CAA) last amended in 1990. These National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is measured by according to pollutants in the area including emissions that are both natural and “human-caused.” EPA has set NAAQS for six principle pollutants called “criteria” pollutants.

Safeopedia Explains Non-Attainment Area

There are several designations for air quality including non-attainment, attainment and unclassifiable areas. Ambient air quality refers to the quality of outdoor air in our surrounding environment. It is usually measured near the ground, and away from the direct source of pollution. The six criteria pollutants EPA has set are:

  1. Ozone (O3)
  2. Lead (Pb)
  3. Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
  4. Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  5. Particulate matter (PM)
  6. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

EPA also establishes both primary and secondary standards to protect both public health and welfare.


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