U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Atmospheric Environment 38 (2004) 3101–3106.DOI:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2004.03.001


In July 1997, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5, atmospheric particles with aerodynamic diameters less than 2.5 μm). The PM2.5 NAAQS was developed by the EPA based on the results of numerous epidemiological studies that found persistent associations between outdoor concentrations of particulate matter (PM) and significant adverse health effects. However, considerable uncertainty existed concerning mechanisms by which various classes of particles might cause adverse health effects, as well as more detailed information on the composition and concentrations of ambient fine PM, that would be critical in implementing the new standards.