Linn County Air Quality Division
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Air Toxics

This site provides information on emissions of air toxics in our community.

The Clean Air Act regulates to categories of pollutants: Criteria Pollutants and Hazardous Air Pollutants.

Criteria Pollutants are the core of the original regulatory framework for protecting ambient air quality. These pollutants include Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate Matter, Ozone, and Sulfur Dioxides. EPA has set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for these pollutants which establishes the maximum allowable concentration of pollutant may be in the air. Most of Linn County ambient monitoring site are for these pollutants. The AQI Index posted on our home page is calculated from our monitored results in comparison to the NAAQS.

Hazardous Air Pollutants, also referred to as "air toxics," are also regulated under the Clean Air Act. However, unlike Criteria Pollutants, ambient air quality standards do not exist for Hazardous Air Pollutants. Instead, the Clean Air Act requires EPA to establish Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards for facilities that emit these pollutants.

The USA Today ran a series of reports the week of December 8, 2008. In response to the information reported and the questions those reports have generated, Linn County Public Health has prepared information for this website to provide background information and hopefully some answers.

In addition to the information provided above, Linn County Public Health is continuing to perform additional analysis on the USA Today air toxic report findings. This includes using a refined air dispersion model to assess exposure and calculating absolute risk from that exposure analysis.  Please return to our website to view new information as it becomes available.