National Air Quality Awareness Week, April 30 – May 4
The Allegheny County Health Department is urging residents to “Be Air Aware” during national Air Quality Awareness Week, April 30 – May 4.
The best way to “Be Air Aware” is to learn how to use the daily Air Quality Index, which reports current and expected air quality and its effects on public health.
The AQI can be an invaluable tool for people sensitive to air pollution and help them make decisions on how to protect themselves when pollution levels are high.
Schools and parents are particularly encouraged to be aware of air quality because children are one of the sensitive groups for health effects from air pollution.
The AQI is a color-coded index with values running from 0 to 500 and the higher the value the greater the level of air pollution and concern about possible health effects.
Zero to 50 (green) is “good”, posing little or no risk; 51 to 100 (yellow) is “moderate,” somewhat of a health concern for a very small group of people who are unusually sensitive and may experience respiratory symptoms.
Readings of 101 to 150 (orange) are “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” While the general public is unlikely to be affected, children, older adults and people with lung or heart diseases are at a greater risk of health effects.
Values from 151 to 200 (red) are “unhealthy.” Everyone may experience some health effects and sensitive groups may have more serious effects.
Readings of 201 to 300 (purple) are “very unhealthy” because everyone may experience serious effects. Values exceeding 300 (maroon) are “hazardous,” triggering a health warning of emergency conditions affecting the entire population.
Everyone is encouraged to use the AQI, especially those who are sensitive to air pollution – children, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.
AQI reports and forecasts are available at Health Department website. You can also sign up to receive them by visiting www.pittsburgh.enviroflash.info or visiting www.liberty.enviroflash.info for reports about air quality in the Liberty/Clairton area.
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