How to Get Current Air Quality Information

Over the past decade, more state and local agencies have begun providing current and forecasted air quality information for their communities. Today, about 300 cities nationwide are issuing air quality alerts based on forecast concentrations of known pollutants such as ozone and particle pollution.  EPA has tools available to deliver these current air quality conditions to you.

Air Quality Index (AQI)  The AQI is a color-coded index describing how clean or polluted the outdoor air is in a specific location and what associated health effects may result for the local population. The AQI focuses on health effects a person may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. EPA has established AQI scales for five major pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also known as particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. For each of these, EPA has established national air quality standards to protect public health. State and local air quality agencies participating in the AIRNow program, post air quality conditions and their forecasts/alerts in terms of the AQI on EPA’s AIRNow site.

EnviroFlash gives instant air quality information that citizens can customize for their own needs, allowing them to take steps that can protect the health of their family. The service is especially helpful for people who are at greater risk from air pollution, including children, older adults, and people with heart or lung diseases.  Once you have registered for the EnviroFlash notification, you will receive air quality forecasts via e-mail or pager, allowing you to make plans based on the most up-to-date air quality information. Everyone can benefit by taking steps to reduce exposure on unhealthy air quality days. To participate in this service visit www.airnow.gov to register and learn more about the importance of air quality forecasts.