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Air Quality in the USA

AIR QUALITY As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, we will highlight how air quality has changed in the United States and how it compares to the rest of the world. The Clean Air Act was established in 1963 and is a federal law that is regulated by the Environmental IN THE USA Protection Agency (EPA). Significant amendments to the Act occurred in 1970, 1977 and 1990. The EPA has set standards for six common air pollutants: ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and lead. Let's see how successful this program has been! THE AIR QUALITY INDEX The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a metric that reflects local air quality based on four pollutants: ozone, particulates, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. AQI Value Air Quality Color Code 0-50 Good Green 51-100 Moderate Yellow 101-150 Unhealthy for sensitive groups Orange 151-200 Unhealthy Red 201-300 Very unhealthy Purple 301-500 Hazardous Maroon AQI readings are taken daily at 1,000+ locations across the country. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA reports that they regulate 187 air pollutants. Cities with populations of more than 350,000 are required to report the AQI daily. OZONE 101 Ozone (03) is defined by Webster as a "very reactive form of oxygen that is a bluish irritating gas of pungent odor, that is a major air pollutant in the lower atmosphere but a beneficial component of the upper atmosphere.." Most Susceptible to the Influences of Ozone: People with lung diseases (emphysema, COPD, bronchitis, asthma) Young children and seniors Ozone can also be an issue for healthy, active people who spend considerable time outdoors. All of these groups should limit any outdoor activity when the AQI is above 100. When the AQI is above 200, they should stay indoors. The State with the Highest Ozone Readings: 82% of sites reported a significant decrease in ozone from 2001-2003 to 2008-2010 California From 2001 to 2010, observed ozone concentrations decreased 9% in the U.S., with most of the decline occurring in the East From 1980 to 2010, observed ozone concentrations decreased 28% in the U.S. (Environmental Protection Agency, 2010) PARTICULATES 101 The EPA measures particles based on two different sizes: Fine (2.5 microns or smaller) and Coarse (2.5 - 10 microns). These are the particle sizes that are most likely to be breathed into your lungs and, therefore, the most dangerous. Most Susceptible to Particulate Pollution: From 2001 to 2010, particulate levels decreased more than 20% in the U.S.. • Those with heart or lung disease. • This group of people should consider reducing activity when the AQI is above 50, they should limit From 1990 to 2010, outdoor activities with levels above particulate levels decreased 38% in the U.S. 100 and avoid the outdoors when levels are above 150. (Environmental Protection Agency, 2010) 10 Countries with the Best Air Quality for Particulates Estonia Mauritius Australia Ireland New Zealand Bhutan Luxembourg Monaco USA Finland The Bottom Three: (* Pakistan Botswana Mongolia 10 Cities with the Best Air Quality for Particulates T:TO Kahului-Wailuku, Whitehorse Clearlake, CA Santa Fe, NM Cheyenne, WY HI Dickinson, ND Farmington, NM Jackson, WY-ID Mackenzie Powell River The Bottom Three: Sanandaj Ulaanbaatar Ahwaz (World Health Organization, 2011) CARBON MONOXIDE 101 Defined as "a colorless odorless very toxic gas (CO)." According to the EPA, vehicle exhaust contributes to approximately 75% of all carbon monoxide and as high as 95% in urban areas. Most Susceptible to Carbon Monoxide: • Those with cardiovascular diseases or compromised respiratory systems. • When the AQI is above 100, those that are most sensitive should reduce heavy activity. An AQI above 150, this group should avoid moderate activity and readings above 200 should be avoided with minimal activity. From 2001 to 2010, carbon monoxide levels decreased by 52% in the U.S. From 1980 to 2010, carbon monoxide levels decreased by 82% in the U.S. (Environmental Protection Agency, 2010) SULFUR DIOXIDE 101 Defined as "a toxic gas SO2 ... and is a major air pollutant especially in industrial areas." It is often produced when fuels such as oil or coal are burned. Most Susceptible to Sulfur Dioxide: • Those with respiratory issues such as asthma. • When the AQI is above 100, this group should reduce active outdoor activities and with an AQI above 200, they should avoid outdoor activity. (Environmental Protection Agency, 2010) SOURCES: Environmental Protection Agency - World Health Organization - Merriam-Webster Dictionary - amorwares T TASTY PLACEMENT :::::

Air Quality in the USA

shared by tastyplacement on Jan 11
The Environmental Protection Agency monitors levels of six common air pollutants. Find out which pollutant is most hazardous to your health.




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