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News Releases from HeadquartersAir and Radiation (OAR)

EPA Celebrates Air Quality Awareness Week May 4 - May 8, 2020

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EPA Press Office (

WASHINGTON (May 4, 2020) — This week, as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) month-long celebration of our nation’s progress in improving air quality over the last 50 years, we are celebrating the 14th annual Air Quality Awareness Week. Over the course of the week, EPA will showcase educational activities and other resources for teachers, students, and families who want to learn more about air quality.

“The United States is a global leader in clean air progress,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “From 1970 to 2018, the combined emissions of the six criteria air pollutants regulated under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards have dropped by 74 percent. I am proud, as all Americans should be, that we as an agency are continuing this progress.

Progress continues:

• Since 2000, fine particulate matter concentrations in the U.S. have dropped by roughly 40 percent.
• Since 1990, concentrations of sulfur dioxide have fallen by 80 percent in the U.S.
• Between 2000 and 2017, lead concentrations in the air fell in the U.S. by over 90 percent.
• For power plants covered by EPA’s program for cross-border ozone, nitrogen oxide emissions have dropped by over 20 percent – roughly 80,000 tons—just since the 2016 ozone season. 

EPA works with a number of agencies to provide day-to-day air quality data as well as educational resources on air quality and health. Each day of Air Quality Awareness Week, the Air Quality Awareness Week website will highlight different resources related to the theme of “Better Air, Better Health:”

• Monday – Wildfires & Smoke
• Tuesday – Asthma & Your Health
• Wednesday – Where’s Your AQI Coming From?
• Thursday – Air Quality Around the World
• Friday – Air Quality Educational Resources

Learn more at EPA also invites teachers, families and students to visit the AirNow website homepage, follow @AirNow on Facebook or Twitter, and share how they celebrate AQAW using the hashtag #AQAW2020 or #EPAat50 on their social media.