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Lead in Air

SIP Toolkit - Designations

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The Clean Air Act identifies six common air pollutants that are found all over the United States. These pollutants can injure health, harm the environment and cause property damage. EPA calls these pollutants criteria air pollutants because the agency has developed health-based criteria (science-based guidelines) as the basis for setting permissible levels in the air we breathe. Lead is a criteria pollutant. EPA establishes national ambient air quality standards for each of the criteria pollutants. These standards apply to the concentration of a pollutant in outdoor air. If the air quality in a geographic area meets or is cleaner than the national standard, it is called an attainment area; areas that don't meet the national standard are called nonattainment areas.

In order to improve air quality in a nonattainment area, states must draft a plan known as a state implementation plan (SIP). The plan outlines the measures that the state will take in order to improve air quality. Once a nonattainment area meets the standards and additional redesignation requirements in the Clean Air Act [Section 107(d)(3)(E)], EPA will designate the area to attainment as a "maintenance area."

States and tribes submit recommendations to the EPA as to whether or not an area is attaining the national ambient air quality standards for a criteria pollutant. The states and tribes base these recommendations on air quality data collected from monitors at locations in urban and rural settings. After working with the states and tribes and considering the information from air quality monitors, EPA will then "designate" an area as attainment or nonattainment for the lead standard. If an area is designated as nonattainment it signifies to the public that the air in the area is unhealthy to breathe. Designations for lead are shown in the table below.

States with designated nonattainment areas are required under the Clean Air Act to develop a State Implementation Plan and submit it to EPA within three years. (Tribes may elect to develop tribal implementation plans but are not required to do so.) This plan must include enforceable measures for reducing air pollutant emissions. The plan must also provide steps for the area to attain the lead standards as quickly as possible, and the area must show how it will make reasonable progress toward attaining the standards.

In assessing how quickly an area can attain the standards, states should consider the air quality improvements that can be achieved from a combination of national, state, and local measures. For example, states should take into account existing emission reduction programs, plus any new programs or regulations that can be implemented within the state or local nonattainment area.

2008 Lead NAAQS Final Nonattainment Designations - Rounds 1 (bold) and 2 (italic)

State Area Name County Name
Alabama Troy Pike (p)
California Los Angeles County within the South
Coast Air Basin, excluding San
Clemente and Santa Catalina Islands
(Southern Los Angeles County)
Los Angeles (p)
Florida Tampa Hillsborough (p)
Illinois Granite City Madison (p)
Chicago Cook (p)
Indiana Muncie Delaware (p)
Iowa Pottawattamie County Pottawattamie (p)
Kansas Saline County Saline (p)
Michigan Belding Ionia (p)
Minnesota Eagan Dakota (p)
Missouri Iron, Dent, and Reynolds Counties Iron (p)
Dent (p)
Reynolds (p)
Jefferson County Jefferson (p)
Ohio Bellefontaine Logan (p)
Cleveland Cuyahoga (p)
Delta Fulton (p)
Pennsylvania Lower Beaver Valley Beaver (p)
Lyons Berks (p)
North Reading Berks (p)
Puerto Rico Arecibo Arecibo (p)
Tennessee Bristol Sullivan (p)
Texas Frisco Collin (p)
15 states 21 Nonattainment Areas 22 partial counties
(parts of Berks County, PA fall in 2 areas)


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