DALLAS (AP) – Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the state of Arkansas $1,137,068 to monitor air quality for fine particulate matter, also called particle pollution or soot. The grant is provided under a cooperative agreement with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to develop and maintain monitoring programs under requirements of the federal Clean Air Act.

“Monitoring and controlling particle pollution is crucial to protecting public health and improving visibility in natural areas,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “ADEQ has proven to be an effective partner in improving air quality, and EPA is proud to continue supporting their air quality programs with this grant.”

The grant covers programs to monitor a type of air pollution called PM 2.5, or fine particulate matter, which consists of solid and liquid particles no larger than 2.5 microns in diameter. The funding will help ADEQ’s air monitoring program prevent and control PM 2.5 and implement national primary and secondary air quality standards.

Particulate matter contains microscopic solids or liquids which may be harmful if inhaled. The particles can become lodged in the lungs, or can even get in your bloodstream, causing respiratory or heart problems. People with heart or lung disease, children, and older adults are most likely to be affected by particle pollution. The particles also affect the environment, with the smallest being the main cause of reduced visibility (haze).

For more about EPA’s work in Arkansas: https://www.epa.gov/ar