This polygon shapefile depicts nonattainment and maintenance areas for the United States and its Territories for the enforcement of the particulate matter 25 (PM2.5) annual mean (averaged over 3 years) NAAQS, which is 15 micrograms per cubed meter. Air pollutants called particulate matter include dust, dirt, soot, smoke and liquid droplets directly emitted into the air by sources such as factories, power plants, cars, construction activity, fires and natural windblown dust. Particles formed in the atmosphere by condensation or the transformation of emitted gases such as SO2 and VOCs are also considered particulate matter. Based on studies of human populations exposed to high concentrations of particles (sometimes in the presence of SO2) and laboratory studies of animals and humans, there are major effects of concern for human health. These include effects on breathing and respiratory symptoms, aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease, alterations in the body's defense systems against foreign materials, damage to lung tissue, carcinogenesis and premature death. The major subgroups of the population that appear to be most sensitive to the effects of particulate matter i nclude individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary or cardiovascular disease or influenza, asthmatics, the elderly and children. Particulate matter also soils and damages materials, and is a major cause of visibility impairment in the United States. Annual and 24-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter were first set in 1971. Total suspended particulate (TSP) was the first indicator used to represent suspended particles in the ambient air. Particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) are referred to as "fine" particles and are believed to pose the largest health risks. Because of their small size (less than one-seventh the average width of a human hair), fine particles can lodge deeply into the lungs. Title 40, Part 50 of the Code of the Federal Regulations lists the ambient air quality standard for particulate matter. This layer is part of the 2014 National Transportation Atlas Database.The National Transportation Atlas Databases 2014 (NTAD2014) is a set of nationwide geographic datasets of transportation facilities, transportation networks, associated infrastructure and other political and administrative entities. These datasets include spatial information for transportation modal networks and intermodal terminals, as well as the re¬lated attribute information for these features. This data supports research, analysis, and decision-making across all transportation modes. It is most useful at the national level, but has major applications at regional, state and local scales throughout the transportation community. The data used to compile NTAD2014 was provided by our partners within the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) and by other agencies throughout the United States Federal Government. These contributors are the actual data stewards and are ultimately responsible for the maintenance and accuracy of their data. In United States environmental law, a nonattainment area is an area considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) as defined in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 (P.L. 91-604, Sec. 109). Nonattainment areas must have and implement a plan to meet the standard or risk losing some forms of federal financial assistance or other consequences, such as industrial facilities being required to install pollution control equipment, enforce limits on their production and otherwise offset their emissions. An area may be a nonattainment area for one pollutant and an attainment area for others. This dataset establishes the spatial boundaries of each nonattainment and maintenance area.