The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $564,000 to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to support air monitoring programs. The grant will help ADEQ maintain the state’s monitoring network for fine particulate pollution, known as PM 2.5.
PM 2.5 is composed of microscopic solids and liquid droplets suspended in air. It can contain materials such as metals; soils and dust; organic chemicals; acids, such as nitrates and sulfates; and pollen, mold spores, and other allergens. These particles can worsen heart and lung diseases, and have been linked to effects such as cardiovascular symptoms, heart attacks, asthma attacks, and bronchitis, and even premature death from heart or lung disease. Children, older adults, and those with breathing or heart problems are especially vulnerable to these effects.
The grant to ADEQ will help the state protect public health by monitoring for PM 2.5 pollution, including pollutants like sulfates and nitrates that can contribute to forming PM 2.5. The state will also use the funds for air quality data management systems, PM 2.5 data analyses, and reporting information to the Air Quality System national database.