Air Quality Index’s main purpose is to assess air quality. It does this by assessing a number of air pollutants. The AQI is a comprehensive tool that measures air quality by assessing multiple pollutants. You can see what is good indoor air quality in this page for more information.
Major Air Pollutants Included on the AQI
Particulate (PM2.5 or PM10) Matter: PM2.5 includes small particles, with a radius of up to 2.5 micrometers. While PM10 covers smaller particles, those that are less than 10 micrometers. Both particles types are capable of penetrating deep into respiratory systems, leading to health problems.
Ground-Level ozone (O3). When pollutants from vehicle and industrial sources are exposed to sunlight, ground-level ozone is formed. A high level of ozone in the air can cause breathing problems.
Carbon Monoxide – Carbon monoxide gas (CO) is the result of incomplete combustion. It interferes with the body’s ability to carry oxygen, and is especially dangerous when it’s in an enclosed area with little ventilation.
Sulfur Dioxide. Sulfur Dioxide can be produced from the combustion of sulfur-containing fuels. In short term, exposure to SO2 at elevated levels can worsen any respiratory condition.
Nitrogen Dioxide – Nitrogen Dioxide contains a dark red-brown color and is produced through combustion, such as in automobiles or power plants. It may irritate respiratory tracts and lead to formation of ground level air ozone.
Each of the pollutants have their own AQI scale. This is calculated based both on the established health-based standard and concentration levels. The highest AQI level among these pollutant values becomes the AQI overall for a location. This makes sure that the AQI reflects any pollutant which has the biggest impact on the health.
Learn how to Interpret the AQI values for specific pollutants
As described in the previous post, the AQI system divides pollutants into different categories, each representing a level of potential health risk. Individuals can use the categories to gauge any potential risk that may be associated with particular pollutants. For instance, if an AQI falls in the “Unhealthy Groups” category it shows that this concentration of fine particle matter is a danger, especially for those who are more sensitive.
AQI measures air quality in a holistic manner by assessing multiple air pollutants. These air pollutants each have their own effects on the health of individuals. By gaining a better understanding of how the AQI works and its components, communities and individuals can take informed decisions that will protect their health while reducing their impact on environment.