The AMS Lab, in operation since 1964, monitors the city's ambient air and analyzes samples for pollutants of concern under city, state, and federal air regulations. This includes:
- Toxics, comprised of metals, including lead, organics collected in canisters and carbonyls including formaldehyde. Samples are collected at five sites within the City and analyzed at AMS lab. Additionally, AMS Lab is the Regional Lab for carbonyl analysis.
- Particulates, in two primary size fractions, PM10 and PM2.5, collected at six sites within the city.
- Speciated PM2.5 particulate samples collected at two sites for shipment to an EPA contracted lab for analysis.
- Gaseous pollutants, including carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and nitrous oxide continuously monitored at six sites with minute by minute data transferred wirelessly or over phone lines to a central computer at AMS Lab.
- Organic content of coatings, and inks. AMS Lab is the Regional Lab for coatings analysis.
- pH levels in precipitation collected at the AMS Lab site.
- Sulfur content of fuel oil samples collected from sources within the City.
- Photo reactive organics in samples collected at AMS Lab. AMS Lab is a Type II PAMS air monitoring site.
All data is reported to a National database maintained by the U.S. EPA. Ambient air quality is also reported locally to the media through the Delaware Valley Air Quality Partnership.
The 2014/2015 Monitoring Network Plan describes the air monitoring network in Philadelphia, includes site photos and a network map, and provides an in depth description of the pollutants monitored at each site.
The EPA’s RadNet tracks fluctuations in gamma radiation emitted from airborne radioactive particles at Philadelphia’s LAB Monitoring Site.
The Village Green Project is a research effort to discover new ways of measuring air quality and weather conditions in community environments. Find out more.