Title I of the Clean Air Act requires that after EPA sets a new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQSHelpNAAQSStandards established by EPA for maximum allowable concentrations of six “criteria” pollutants in outdoor air. The six pollutants are carbon monoxide, lead, ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. The standards are set at a level that protects public health with an adequate margin of safety.) or revises an existing standard, we must then designate areas in the United States as being in “attainment” or “nonattainment” with the standard.
This website provides information on the process EPA follows to designate areas as being in attainment or nonattainment with the standards for leadHelpleadA heavy metal that is hazardous to health if breathed or swallowed. Its use in gasoline, paints, and plumbing compounds has been sharply restricted or eliminated by federal laws and regulations. established in 2008.
Learn About Lead Designations
Breathing air containing lead can cause a range of adverse health effects, most notably in children. Exposures to low levels of lead early in life have been linked to effects on IQ, learning, memory, and behavior. Elevated lead in the environment can result in decreased growth and reproductive rates in plants and animals, and neurological effects in vertebrates. Reducing levels of lead pollution is an important part of EPA’s commitment to a clean, healthy environment.
Title I of the Clean Air Act requires that within two years after EPA sets a new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), or revises an existing standard, we must designate areas in the United States as being in “attainment” (i.e., meeting) or “nonattainment” (i.e., not meeting) with the standard.
The Clean Air Act requires states to submit and gives tribes the opportunity to submit, initial area designation recommendations within 12 months following promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. For the 2008 lead standards, EPA completed lead designations in two rounds. In the first round, EPA designated as “nonattainment” any area that violated the 2008 lead standards based on air quality data from 2007-2009. EPA took an additional year to make final designations decisions for all other areas of the country to allow additional lead air quality data to be collected and evaluated. In the second round, EPA designated those remaining areas as meeting or not meeting the 2008 lead standards based on data from 2008-2010. Although tribes are not required to provide recommendations they are invited to do so. Some tribes participated in this process.
The basis for air quality designations
EPA’s final designations are based on air quality monitoring data, recommendations submitted by states and tribes and other technical information. EPA provided guidance for the lead designations process in the preamble to the lead NAAQS rule.