Goals of the Clean Air Act

  • Mitigate potentially harmful ambient concentrations of six “criteria” pollutants: carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM), and lead (Pb).

  • Limit sources of exposure to hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).

  • Protect and improve visibility in wilderness areas and national parks.

  • Reduce emissions of substances that cause acid deposition, specifically sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

  • Curb use of chemicals that have the potential to deplete the stratospheric ozone layer.

FIGURE ES-1 Idealized schematic showing the iterative nature of air quality management. Bullets under each heading provide examples.

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