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EPA Approves Redesignation of the Etowah County Area Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Standard

Contact Information: 
James Pinkney (
(404) 562-9183 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

ATLANTA (August 27, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it took final action to approve the state of Alabama’s request to redesignate the Etowah County Area from unclassifiable to attainment/unclassifiable for the 2006 Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) standard.

For more than 20 years, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has worked cooperatively with EPA and other stakeholders to develop strategies for achieving and maintaining compliance with PM2.5 standards across the state. ADEM’s efforts to attain the national PM2.5 standards are reducing unhealthy levels of fine particle pollution. Their successful projects in EPA’s Clean Diesel Program have helped to reduce fine particle pollution from highway, nonroad and stationary diesel engines. From 2000 to 2016, the national annual average PM2.5 concentrations have dropped 42 percent.

Particulate matter is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particle pollution is made up of several components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Particles that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter can bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs and some may even enter the circulatory system. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.

For more information on the Etowah County Area final 2006 24-Hour Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) redesignation, visit docket number EPA-R04-OAR-2018-0173 at