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What Is Air Quality Index (AQI)?

Everyone knows we breathe in air to obtain oxygen to nourish our cells, but how clean is it? The truth is, the air we take in contains many elements and compounds, such as ozone, carbon dioxide, and other harmful gases. It also contains particulates that can include things like dust, smoke, smog, lead, or asbestos. These extras in the air can cause harm, especially in those that have health conditions that would make them susceptible to poor air quality. You will often hear the media report the air quality index for a certain area, but what is Air Quality Index (AQI)? We answer that question and more below.

The Air Quality Index Explained

What is AQI? The air quality index is a scale that runs from zero to 500 according to the amount of pollution and the air. The greater the AQI, the greater the more pollution the air contains and the more likely it is to cause health consequences.

What Does The Air Quality Index Tell You?

What is AQI, and what does it mean? When you hear the air quality index reported, a color and number is usually mentioned that tell you how to read air quality index.

  • Green means the AQI is between zero and 50. This is considered good air quality.
  • Yellow indicators mean the AQI is between 51 and 100, which is acceptable for most people except those who have severe health conditions and trouble breathing.
  • Orange and Red levels (101-150) imply a larger portion of the population will begin to experience breathing difficulties and the effects of poor air quality.
  • Purple is when the AQI reaches between 201 and 300, and a health alert is issued. At this level, almost everyone, even those who are normally healthy, can experience difficulties breathing.
  • Maroon is the most serious level warning which occurs at 301 or higher. This level is considered very hazardous and is an air quality emergency.

How Do You Read An Air Quality Index?

First you must choose an air quality monitoring device, such as the Davis AirLink. The Davis AirLink tracks data and allows you to obtain a proper AQI reading, forecasting air quality levels in your area so that you can take the necessary actions to protect yourself and those around you. The AirLink tracks ozone, particulate matter in various size categories, and nitrogen dioxide, which are all major pollutants of concern noted by the EPA.

It’s important to note that the air quality reported by your local media might not be the same as the air quality in your home. That is why an air quality monitor is an excellent addition to a home safety and security suite. You can also add them to weather stations and connect with networks that track data.

Are you considering buying a professional air quality monitor? Take a look at our Davis AirLink video to see how to get affordable air quality monitoring both indoors and outdoors.

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