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California Environmental Health Tracking Program

850 Marina Bay Pkwy, P-3
Richmond, CA 94804

(510) 620-3038
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Last Edited: 9/28/2010

Air Quality Monitoring

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) monitors criteria air pollutants and some toxic air contaminants through an extensive monitoring network throughout California. 

  • ARB operates some air quality monitors directly
  • Others are operated by local authorities, private contractors, and the National Park Service

In total, there are more than 250 air monitors in California. 

  • Air monitors may not collect information on each pollutant
  • Different pollutants are monitored according to varying times schedules
  • Some monitoring stations also collect weather information

Monitors are located in places designed to collect the most important information.  

  • There are more monitors in regions with high pollution and in regions where a lot of people live
  • However, within those regions, monitors are located away from busy roadways so that they measure only background air pollution
  • Learn more about limitations in using air monitoring data in the Air Quality Measures and Limitations section

ARB and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) use air monitor data to:

  • Determine which areas meet state and national air quality standards
  • For local air quality alerts
  • To create models and maps of air quality-- an air quality model can estimate the air quality in an area where there is no monitor

For more information, visit ARB’s Quality Assurance Air Monitoring Site Information.  ARB also has information on the monitoring schedules and sampling methods of the following specific pollutants: