During summer, it’s not uncommon to hear newscasters referring to the Air Quality Index, or AQI. You might hear that the AQI is “Good” at 45 or that it’s “Unhealthy” at 183. The AQI is also often referred to by its color level: green, yellow, orange, red, purple, or maroon. It’s difficult to keep all of the numbers, names, and colors straight, so here’s a quick rundown of the AQI and how it impacts you.
The AQI is EPA’s tool for communicating air quality to the public. It uses both a color-coded and numerical scale to report how clean or polluted the air is and what associated health effects might be of concern. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern.
EPA calculates the AQI for 5 major air pollutants that are regulated by the Clean Air Act:
You can read more about the AQI on the DEP’s air quality webpage.
To answer this question, Clean Air Partners have developed a handy infographic (at right) to illustrate what type of precautions citizens should take during common AQI levels and what groups are most at risk.
In the last remaining weeks of summer and hot weather, be sure to keep an eye out for AQI alerts! In addition to catching them in the news, Clean Air Partners also has daily email alerts and a mobile app for Apple and Google Play. Stay informed and stay safe!