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Air Quality

Air Quality

Clean air is healthy air.

The most widespread kinds of air pollution are ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot), but breathing either is harmful.

  • To make readily available information about the health effects of the five most common air pollutants and how to avoid them, the EPA developed the Air Quality Index or AQI. The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is and what associated health effects might be a concern for you on a daily basis.

    The EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also known as particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. For each of these pollutants, EPA has established national air quality standards to protect public health.
  • Transportation
    • Choose a cleaner commute — car pool, use public transportation, bike or walk when possible.
    • Combine errands into one trip to reduce "cold starts" of your car and avoid extended idling.
    • Ensure your tires are properly inflated.
    • Keep car, boat and other engines properly tuned, and avoid engines that smoke.
    • Follow gasoline refueling instructions for efficient vapor recovery. Be careful not to spill fuel, and always tighten your gas cap securely.
  • Household
    • Use environmentally-safe paints and cleaning products whenever possible.
    • Follow manufacturers' recommendations for use, and properly seal cleaners, paints and other chemicals to prevent evaporation into the air.
    • Conserve electricity by setting your thermostat a little higher in the summer and lower in winter.
    • Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying home or office equipment.
    • Consider using gas logs instead of wood. If you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace insert, make sure it meets EPA design specifications. Burn only dry, seasoned wood.
  • Lawn & Garden
    • Mulch or compost leaves and yard waste.
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