Epa Rolls Out Year Round Air Quality Index Forecasts
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that new information on air quality will be available in more than 100 U.S. cities beginning October 1.
The move is part of the EPA’s effort, together with state and local governments, to expand current air quality forecasts to include daily information on particle pollution.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a color coded system designed to inform the public about daily air pollution levels in their communities. During the summer months, local broadcast meteorologists in nearly 300 U.S. cities use the AQI to provide daily ozone forecasts as part of their weather casts.
Beginning Oct. 1, the use of the AQI will be expanded to include daily, year-round forecasts for particle pollution for more than 100 cities – the EPA expects this number to grow in the coming months as additional areas begin forecasting.
Unlike ozone pollution, which is known to be highest during the summer months, particle pollution can vary throughout the year.
“Monitoring and emissions data show tremendous air quality improvement over the past three decades, but there is more to do,” said EPA Acting Administrator Marianne Horinko. “As our work progresses, the expanded Air Quality Index forecasts will help millions of people protect their health – especially people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children.”
While unhealthy levels occur on only a limited number of days, the EPA says that these expanded AQI forecasts give people the information they need to protect their health all year.
“Particle pollution” refers to a mixture of microscopic solids and liquid droplets found in the air. It comes from a number of sources, including cars and trucks, industry, fires, and power plants.
High levels of particle pollution are of particular concern to people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children, can also be at risk at lower levels.
Particle pollution has been linked to asthma attacks, chronic bronchitis, changes in heart rate, arrhythmias and heart attacks, among other health problems.
Air quality forecasts are available on local television stations, on state and local air quality agency web sites, on “USA Today’s” weather page and on The Weather Channel. More information about the cities and metropolitan areas that will be issuing AQI forecasts year round can be found here. News You Can Use
Provided by theEnvironmental News Service.