Benchmark and Health Promotion Limits

Air quality in Reykjavik is generally good, but nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fraud (PM10) are the substances most likely to exceed health protection levels. Other atmospheric pollutants measured in the city include sulphur (H2S), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and benzene (C6H6), but are generally well below the limit values in Reykjavik.

Regulatory framework

The objective of air quality regulation is to prevent or reduce the harmful effects of air pollution on human health and the environment, assess air quality in a consistent manner, obtain information on air quality and maintain it where it is high, or improve it. At the same time, it is a goal to reduce air pollution.

Regulation 787/1999 The limit values

for air quality are maximum permissible levels of pollution and are classified into several types according to the circumstances to which they apply. The main limit values are health protection limits, but crop protection limits are also laid down in regulations for certain substances.

Table 1 below shows the health protection limits for atmospheric pollutants according to the following regulations:

Regulation 920/2016 on sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, benzene, carbon monoxide, fraud and lead in the atmosphere, the concentration of ozone at the Earth's surface and on public information. Regulation 514/2010 on the concentration of sulphur in ambient air.

Details of the response to pollution from volcanic eruptions

Health Protection Limits for Air Pollutants

Average duration



Maximum daily running moments 24- average

50 µg/m³, must never exceed the limit

Calendar Year

5 µg/m³

Sulphur dioxide

One hour

350 µg/m³, which must not be exceeded more than 24 times in a calendar year

One day

125 µg/m³, which must not be exceeded more than 3 times per calendar year

Nitrogen dioxide

One hour

200 µg/m³, which must not be exceeded more than 18 times per calendar year

One day

75 µg/m³, which must not be exceeded more than 7 times per calendar year

Calendar Year

40 µg/m³


One day

50 µg/m³, which must not be exceeded more than 35 times in a calendar year

Calendar Year

40 µg/m³


Calendar Year

20 µg/m³

*Sulphur should be reported when sulphur has been measured above 50 µg/m³ continuously for three hours.