The Environmental Protection Agency better known as the EPA is ultimately responsible for the air quality management in the United States of America. Although, the EPA assigns other businesses, programs, groups, organizations and entities the miscellaneous tasks related to air quality management they are the group or organization assigned the task by the federal government.
The EPA has the responsibility of the following air quality management standards, air quality improvements, air quality monitoring, home air quality, indoor air quality, outdoor air quality, poor air quality, air quality standards updates, air quality testing and air quality levels. These are only a few of the many air quality management areas of interest that the EPA is needed to monitor.
The standards involved with air quality management are grouped into Primary and Secondary air quality standards. Primary air quality standards were set to protect public health. The Primary standards include sensitive pollutants such as those that contribute to asthma and the pollutants dangerous to children and the elderly. Secondary air quality standards are those set to the welfare of the public. The pollutants included in the Secondary standards include pollutants effecting animals, visibility, buildings, crops and vegetation.
The reason that the EPA is ultimately responsible for air quality management is because of the Clean Air Act of 1970. In 1970, the Clean Air Act was passed and created the need for an organization to manage the specific aspects of the act.
The Clean Air Act needs the EPA to set air quality standards for six harmful pollutants. The six pollutants that the EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards or the OAQPS has set standards for are Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Particulate Matter and Sulfur Dioxide. These six pollutants are called criteria pollutants. The units used to measure these pollutants are parts per million (ppm) by volume, milligrams (mg/m3), and micrograms per cubic meter of air (g/m3).
These pollutants were named and the standards were set because the Clean Air Act needs the EPA to do so. The Clean Air Act also tells the EPA to review and update these standards to make sure that they continue to protect the public and the environment, as the updates are needed.
In 1990, the last amendment was added to the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act is still reviewed for needed amendments and changes as science and industry change the way that the monitoring and testing is done.
The EPA does air quality management because they were the organization named responsible by the United States government after the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970.