ARB Fact Sheet: Air Pollution and Health
This page last reviewed November 20, 2008
|Despite significant success in reducing overall pollution levels, air pollution continues to be an important
public health problem. Air monitoring shows that over 90 percent of Californians breathe unhealthy levels of one
or more air pollutants during some part of the year. Health-based ambient air quality standards set by the California
Air Resources Board (ARB) identify outdoor pollutant levels that are considered safe for the public – including
those most sensitive to the effects of air pollution, such as children and the elderly. The ARB has set standards
for eight "traditional" pollutants, such as ozone and particulate matter. In addition to setting
standards, the ARB identifies other air pollutants as toxic air contaminants (toxics) – pollutants that may cause
serious, long-term effects, such as cancer, even at low levels. Most toxics have no known safe levels, and some
may accumulate in the body from repeated exposures. The Board has identified about 200 pollutants as toxics, and
measures continue to be adopted to reduce emissions of toxics. Both traditional pollutants and toxic air contaminants
are measured statewide to assess programs for cleaning the air. The ARB works with local air pollution control districts
to reduce air pollution from all sources.
What are the health effects of some common air pollutants?
The table below shows the health effects of some of the common pollutants found in our air and examples of some of the sources of these pollutants.
If you have questions or comments regarding this web page, please contact Barbara Weller at (916) 445-1324 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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