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Air Pollution and Public Health in Utah


Adverse birth outcomes: A number of health effects involving pregnancy and the fetus or newborn infant, including preterm birth, being small for gestational age, low birth weight, fetal or infant death, and birth defects.

Age-adjusted rate: See Rate, age-adjusted.

Ambient air: Outdoor air.

AQI: Air quality index. An index, ranging from 0 to 500, for reporting daily air quality and what associated health effects might be of concern. Click here for Utah specific AQI.

Arrhythmia: An irregular heartbeat.

ATSDR: The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Attainment areas: Regions that meet the NAAQS.

CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CAD: Coronary artery disease. Also known as coronary heart disease and ischemic heart disease.

CHD: Coronary heart disease. Also known as coronary artery disease and ischemic heart disease.

CO: Carbon monoxide.

COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Criteria pollutants: Six common air pollutants for which EPA is required to establish national air quality standards. They are carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide.

EEP: The Environmental Epidemiology Program, within the Utah Department of Health.

EPA: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

ICD:The International Classification of Disease, the international standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management, and clinical purposes maintained by the World Health Organization.

IHD: Ischemic heart disease. Also known as coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease.

Inversion: see Temperature inversion.

Low birthweight: Infants that weigh less than 2,500 grams (about 5 ½ pounds) at birth. One of several adverse birth outcomes.

Maintenance areas: Former nonattainment areas that improved air quality so that it no longer violated or contributed to violations of the NAAQS. These regions retain maintenance status for 20 years.

Myocardial infarction: The medical term for a heart attack.

NAAQS: National Ambient Air Quality Standards, set by EPA for the six criteria pollutants.

  • Primary NAAQS: Standards based on human health.
  • Secondary NAAQS: Standards designed to prevent environmental and property damage.

NO2: Nitrogen dioxide. One of the oxides of nitrogen that are common components of air pollution.

Nonattainment areas: Regions that do not meet the NAAQS. They must develop comprehensive plans to reduce pollutant concentrations to safe levels.

NOx: Nitrogen oxides.

O3: Ozone. In the context of air pollution, this refers to ozone at ground level.

PM2.5: Particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometers. These are sometimes referred to as "fine particles".

PM10: Particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 10 micrometers and larger than 2.5 micrometers. These are sometimes referred to as "inhalable coarse particles".

ppb: Parts per billion.

ppm: Parts per million.

Preterm birth: A live birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. One of several adverse birth outcomes.

Primary particles: Particulate matter released directly from a source (e.g., smoke from a fire or dust from a road).

Rate: A measure of the frequency with which an event occurs in a defined population during a defined time period. Rates are often presented as the number of events per 100,000 people.

Rate, age-adjusted: A rate that has been adjusted to allow populations with different age distributions to be compared.

Secondary particles: Particulate matter formed in complex reactions involving other atmospheric pollutants like nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.

SGA: Small for gestational age. One of several adverse birth outcomes.

SO2: Sulfur dioxide.

Temperature inversion: A weather condition where a layer of warm air holds colder air close to the ground, trapping air pollutants near ground level. Inversions are more frequent in winter, and are common in areas like the Wasatch Front and the Uintah Basin. Click here for more information.

UDAQ: The Utah Division of Air Quality, within the Department of Environmental Quality.

UDOH: The Utah Department of Health.

µg/m3: micrograms per cubic meter.

VOC: Volatile organic compound.

WHO: See World Health Organization.

World Health Organization: A specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.