What is the Air Quality Index?

The Air Quality Index scale runs from 0 - 500. The higher the value, the greater risk the air is to your health.

What is the Air Quality Index?Here in Florida we use sun protection all year long, but this time of the year brings more media attention the the Air Quality Index.

What is the Air Quality Index?

The Air Quality Index (AQI) monitors the condition of the air around us, if it is clean or how polluted it may be, and what associatied health effects might be a concern for you.

The Air Quality Index, which is updated daily, measures five major air pollutants:
-Ground-level ozone
-Particle pollution (particulate matter)
-Carbon monoxide
-Sulfur dioxide
-Nitrogen dioxide

The AQI scale runs from 0 – 500. The higher the value, the greater risk the air is to your health. 100 is generally accepted as the standard where air quality is satisfactory. Levels over 100 are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups of people at first, and then for everyone as the level rises.

Each category corresponds to a different level of health concern. The six levels of health concern and what they mean are:

Good AQI is 0 – 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
Moderate AQI is 51 – 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people. For example, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups AQI is 101 – 150. Although general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, people with lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone, whereas persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air. .
Unhealthy AQI is 151 – 200. Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects. .
Very Unhealthy AQI is 201 – 300. This would trigger a health alert signifying that everyone may experience more serious health effects.
Hazardous AQI greater than 300. This would trigger a health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

Those in sensitive groups include: older people, those with lung disease/conditions, and children.

EPA has assigned a specific color to each AQI category, as seen in the picture, to make it easier for people to understand quickly whether air pollution is reaching unhealthy levels in their communities. For example, the color orange means that conditions are “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” while red means that conditions may be “unhealthy for everyone,”

NOTE: (This link: http://www.weather.com/activities/health/airquality/ loads faster than the one found below.)

Check your air quality by zip code or state before you head outside, to be sure you are safe, or taking proper precautions.

Use the “state” option rather than “zip code”, and look for the readings closest to your area of concern.

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2 Comments

  1. Ken supernor

    SO Where Do We Find This Air Quality Number???

  2. ameliaprivateeye

    I usually see the “number” during the hazy, hot and humid summer months on our local television weather broadcasts. The number is found by monitoring the acceptable level of ozone and particle pollution in the atmosphere at timely averages. Follow this link: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/air/air_quality/standard.htm for more information.

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