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  1. May 2018
    1. Negative values included when assessing air quality In computing average pollutant concentrations, EPA includes recorded values that are below zero. EPA advised that this is consistent with NEPM AAQ procedures. Logically, however, the lowest possible value for air pollutant concentrations is zero. Either it is present, even if in very small amounts, or it is not. Negative values are an artefact of the measurement and recording process. Leaving negative values in the data introduces a negative bias, which potentially under represents actual concentrations of pollutants. We noted a considerable number of negative values recorded. For example, in 2016, negative values comprised 5.3 per cent of recorded hourly PM2.5 values, and 1.3 per cent of hourly PM10 values. When we excluded negative values from the calculation of one‐day averages, there were five more exceedance days for PM2.5 and one more for PM10 during 2016.