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Air Quality

National Ambient Air Quality Standards

The Clean Air Act is a federal law that authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (standards) to protect public health and the environment. EPA has established and maintained two types of standards for criteria pollutants: primary standards and secondary standards.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set standards for the six criteria pollutants and to review these standards once every five years to determine if they are appropriate or if new standards are needed to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety and are sufficient to protect the environment.

In South Carolina, DHEC is the agency responsible for monitoring air quality and reporting the levels of each of these pollutants in our air to EPA.

Since the Clean Air Act became law, air quality has improved in South Carolina, while the standards have become stricter. However, ensuring that air quality improves in step with stricter standards is an ongoing challenge that DHEC has met by working with businesses, citizen groups, local governments, and other stakeholders.

For more information please contact the Bureau of Air Quality at (803) 898-4123 or by email.