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Air Quality Monitoring

Air Quality Guide for Ozone and Particle Pollution

What is the Federal Standard?

The federal Clean Air Act directs EPA to establish a health-based standard for an acceptable level of ozone and particle pollution in the atmosphere.

The new federal standard for ozone has been established at a level equivalent to .075 parts per million averaged over any 8-hour period. An area will be considered in violation (not meeting the standard) if the average of the annual fourth highest ozone readings at any ozone monitor for any three year period equals or exceeds .075 parts per million.

The particulate pollution posted on this page is fine particle concentrations. The standard for fine particles or PM2.5, has two parts, one is annual and one is daily. The level of the annual average standard is 15.0 µg/m3 annual arithmetic mean and 35 µg/m3 for a 24-hour average. The annual standard is violated if the three-year average is above 15.0 µg/m3. The 24 hour standard is violated if the three-year average of the 98th percentile of daily averages at a site is above 35 µg/m3.

 

Air Quality Category
Air Quality
Index (AQI)
AQI=100 corresponds to standard
Ozone Concentration (parts per million) 8-hour average unless noted
Ozone Concentration (parts per billion) 8-hour average unless noted
Particle Pollution Concentration (mg/m3) 24-hour daily average EPA's air quality
Good 0 to 50 0.0 to 0.059 0 to 64 0.0 to 15.4
What does it mean?

 

  • No health impacts are expected when air quality is in this range.

 

Moderate 51 to 100 0.060 to 0.075 65 to 75 15.5 to 40.4
What does it mean?

 

  • Ozone: Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.

  • Particle Pollution: Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 101 to 150 .076 to .95 (8-hr)
-- or --
.125 - .164 (1-hr)
76 to 104 (8-hr)
-- or --
125 - 164 (1-hr)
40.5 to 65.4
What does it mean?

 

  • Ozone: Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.

  • Particle Pollution: People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.

Unhealthy  

 

151 to 200 .096 to .115 (8-hr)
-- or --
.165 - .204 (1-hr)
105 to 124 (8-hr)
-- or --
165 - 204 (1-hr)
65.5 to 150.4
What does it mean?

 

  • Ozone: Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion: everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion.

  • Particle Pollution: People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

Very Unhealthy 201 to 300 0.116+ (8-hr)
-- or --
0.204+ (1-hr)
125+ (8-hr)
-- or --
204+ (1-hr)
150.5 to 250.4
What does it mean?

 

  • Ozone: Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion: everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion.

  • Particle Pollution: People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.

 

Last updated: September 11, 2013

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