The Governor’s Administration has announced the receipt of a notice from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stating that New Jersey is currently in compliance with the EPA’s newly strengthened health standard for fine particles in the air. The new limits are 12 micrograms per cubic meter of fine particles, and the strengthened requirements went into effect on December 14, 2014. Previously the limit was 15 micrograms per cubic meter.
Fine particles are a type of air pollutant that can cause severe health issues, especially in at risk populations like the young, elderly, and residents with chronic respiratory issues. Effects of exposure to fine particles may include irritation of the eyes, throat, nose, and lungs, shortness of breath, sneezing, and could exacerbate illnesses such as asthma and heart disease. These particles may consist of dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets, and may come from a myriad of sources such as motor vehicles, wood burning, power plants, and industrial production.
Bob Martin, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, states that the Department has “worked tirelessly to control emissions from a variety of sources, including coal-fired power plants, diesel engines, and motor vehicles.” Martin points out that New Jersey is a leading state in the development of renewable energy and use of natural gas.
To see a copy of the EPA’s letter to the Administration, click here.
For the official NJDEP news release regarding the letter, click here.
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