Air Quality Index
In order to help citizens understand the quality of the air on a day to day basis, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created an Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is a number and color coded chart or index to help us understand the quality of the air that day and the associated health risks. The AQI works similar to a ruler, and the measuring limits are from 0 – 500. The lower the number assigned that day, the better the quality of the air and the less health risk, while the higher the number assigned, the worse the quality of the air and the greater the health risk. The AQI provides information on 5 major air pollutants; Ground-level Ozone, Particulate Matter, Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide and Carbon Monoxide. To understand the quality of the air, the AQI is divided into six categories and associated with each category are varying health risks.
Good: The AQI value for your community is between 0 and 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
Moderate: The AQI for your community is between 51 and 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people. For example, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups: When AQI values are between 101 and 150, members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. This means they are likely to be affected at lower levels than the general public. For example, people with lung disease are at greater risk from exposure to ozone, while people with either lung disease or heart disease are at greater risk from exposure to particle pollution. The general public is not likely to be affected when the AQI is in this range.
Unhealthy: Everyone may begin to experience health effects when AQI values are between 151 and 200. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.
Very Unhealthy: AQI values between 201 and 300 trigger a health alert, meaning everyone may experience more serious health effects.
To find out the AQI on a day to day basis in Kansas please visit www.airnow.gov