The Problem

Utah’s population faces several air-quality challenges.

For those living along the Wasatch Front, the most notable problem is high wintertime levels of fine particulate matter. These levels exceed National Ambient Air Quality Standards and lead to a variety of adverse health effects including increased morbidity and mortality. Utah is unique in that a large population is exposed to short-term (several day or week long) spikes in fine particulate matter. This environment provides researchers with the opportunity to understand the health and economic impacts of air pollution, as well as the ability to develop optimal mitigation strategies. The Wasatch Front also experiences high summertime levels of ozone.  See KUED’s documentary, The Air We Breathe, about the Wasatch Front’s air quality.

Utah’s Uintah basin has high wintertime levels of fine particulate matter and ozone. The atmospheric chemistry leading to these wintertime elevated ozone levels is not well understood, nor are the combined health effects of ozone and fine particulate matter.