EPA’s Ozone Air Quality Index Breakdown
The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality ranging from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern.
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An AQI level of 100 generally corresponds to the national air quality standard, which is the level the EPA has set to protect public health. AQI levels below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory, while levels above 100 are considered unhealthy for at risk groups, and then for everyone as the AQI rises.
Air Quality Index
Air quality is considered good, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
Air quality may pose a moderate health risk, especially for those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Members of sensitive groups, children and adults with respiratory and heart ailments, may experience health effects and should limit time spent outside. The general public is not likely to be affected.
Everyone may experience health effects and should limit their outdoor activity; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.
Everyone may experience more serious health effects and should avoid outdoor activities, especially individuals with heart and breathing ailments, children, and older adults.
Ground Level Ozone
Ground level ozone is a colorless gas formed through chemical reactions on hot days. Washington’s hot, humid climate and location downwind from Midwestern power plants are major contributors to the region’s ozone situation.
Ozone consists of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx).
VOC: Are formed by fossil fuel combustion and evaporation of gasoline, solvents, paints, etc.
NOx: Are the result of fossil fuel combustion. Tends to increase at higher and lower speeds. Congested highways generate lots of NOx.