TV Weather - Expanded AQI Fact Sheet

  • Starting October 1, 2003, daily forecasts for particle pollution will be available year-round on the newly expanded Air Quality Index (AQI). Until now, the AQI has been used to forecast only ground-level ozone during the summer.
  • Particles can affect your health year-round. Particle pollution refers to microscopic particles in the air that can get deep into the lungs -- potentially causing serious health problems.
  • People with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults and children are particularly sensitive to the harmful effects of particle pollution. The sensitive groups for ozone include people with lung disease (including asthma), children and adults who are active outdoors.
  • Sources of particles include smokestack emissions, vehicle exhaust, and fires. Particles are produced any time fuels such as coal, oil, diesel or wood are burned. They come from everything from power plants to woodstoves and motor vehicles (e.g., cars, trucks, buses and marine engines). Particles are even produced by construction equipment, agricultural burning and forest fires.
  • When particle pollution forecasts become available October 1, 2003, the expanded Air Quality Index will be an even better resource for millions of Americans to manage their health.
  • People who are sensitive to particle pollution can reduce their health risks by cutting back on strenuous activities or scheduling strenuous activities when air quality is better.
  • Meteorologists will still be able to use the AQI and the familiar five-color system to forecast localized air quality year-round with an emphasis on ozone and particles. For example, a meteorologist might say, "It's a code orange day -- that means the air quality today is unhealthy for sensitive groups. The primary pollutant is particles. People with heart or lung disease (including asthma), children and older adults should cut back their strenuous activities today."
  • To learn more about air quality and how people can protect their health, visit http://www.epa.gov/airnow.

  • This page was last updated on Monday, May 06, 2013