AIRNOW A New Way to Look at the Atmosphere Template Presentation for Regional Toolkit
Cooperative effort between U.S. EPA, NPS, state and local air agencies to collect, quality assure, and transfer real-time and forecast air quality information to the public Utilizes the Air Quality Index (AQI); a national reporting program that links air quality levels to cautionary health messages Fast and easy access for the media to deliver understandable air quality information that will help the public make good health- based decisions about their daily activities What is AIRNOW?
Why Air Quality? Number of People Living in Counties With Air Quality Concentrations above the Level of the NAAQS* in 2002 Based on air quality data from 2002, “approximately 146 million people live in counties where monitored air was unhealthy…” -- EPA 2002 Status and Trends Report * National Ambient Air Quality Standards
What’s Available Now? • Real-time ozone • animations • Next-day AQI • forecasts www.epa.gov/airnow
How is it being used?On Air • Local/regional • coverage • National • coverage
Expanded Air Quality Index forecasting So What’s Next? Your forecast to breathe by
Who:Millions of people What:Year-round monitoring & forecasting air quality Where:Available for cities across the U.S. When:Launched Nationally October 1 How:The same familiar 5-color system “Today is forecast to be a code redday. This means that air quality is unhealthy for everyone and everyone should avoid strenuous activities.” Expanded AQI Forecasting
Microscopic particles in the air Also called particulate matter, PM, fine particles or haze Creates atmospheric haze Comes from vehicle exhaust, fires, industrial and agricultural processes Can be breathed deep into the lungs and causes significant health threats… Why: Particle Pollution
Aggravates lung disease including asthma Aggravates heart disease including congestive heart failure Resulting in: More premature deaths More admissions to hospitals More trips to emergency rooms More visits to doctors’ offices More school and work absences More symptom days The doctor says particle pollution…
People with heart or lung disease (including asthma) Conditions make them vulnerable Older adults Greater prevalence of heart and lung disease Children More likely to be active Breathe more air per pound Bodies still developing So Who’s at Risk?
AQI color code Who is affected? What is the significance? What action should people take? Green – Air quality is good Enjoy activities Yellow People who are unusually sensitive to air pollution Air quality is a concern for people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution People unusually sensitive to air pollution: Plan strenuous activities when air quality is better Orange People with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults, and children Air quality is unhealthy for people in sensitive groups Sensitive groups: Cut back or reschedule strenuous activities Red Everyone, especially people with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults, and children Air quality is unhealthy for everyone Everyone: Cut back or reschedule strenuous activities Sensitive groups: Avoid strenuous activities Purple Everyone, especially people with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults, and children Air quality is very unhealthy for everyone Everyone: Significantly cut back on physical activities Sensitive groups: Avoid all physical activities What do you say?
Particles are a significant health problem Affect different groups of people A year-round problem Both indoors and outdoors Day and night You can make a difference! One more time…
www.epa.gov/airnow At-a-glance messages Health messages and tips Web updates to materials you can use to talk about air quality National and regional real-time maps and graphics Get the Tools You Need