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Biofuels Credited for Better Air Quality in Chicago
USAgNet - 08/30/2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the State of Illinois' request to formally redesignate the Chicago area to attainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for fine particulate matter. Recent air monitoring data show the entire Chicago area now meets the national standard set to protect public health.

The Chicago area - and also the entire state of Illinois - currently is achieving the 2012 annual National Ambient Air Quality Standard for fine particulate matter. The EPA approved Illinois' request to redesignate Chicago

"For 25 years, our Chicago area coalition has worked with the U.S. EPA, the Illinois EPA, and our stakeholders, including public and private fleets, to reduce air pollution from the transportation sector," said John Walton, chair, Chicago Area Clean Cities. "Through combined regulatory and volunteer efforts, these organizations have played an important role and contributed to the success of the Chicago area in lowering harmful emissions.

The Chicago area was designated as nonattainment area for the 1997 fine particulate matter by the U.S. EPA based on a multifactor analysis, including air-quality monitoring data. The Clean Air Act pertaining to engine technology and fuel mandates helped to decrease emissions in the Chicago area to achieve the most current standard. Nationally, the concentration of fine particulate matter has decreased 41 percent from 2000 to 2017.

Fine particulate matter are inhalable particles with diameters smaller than 2.5 micrometers. Most particles form in the atmosphere as a result of complex reactions of chemicals such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which are pollutants emitted from power plants, industries, and automobiles. Inhaling fine particulate matter can affect the lungs and heart.

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