Air pollution is a concern for everyone who breathes. Air quality is of even more importance for those living with lung disease and those who work or exercise outdoors.
The Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change provides air quality readings in different areas of the province through the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI).
The AQHI is an important tool that can help guide you in reducing your risks from the effects of air pollution. It’s now available throughout Ontario, providing current and forecast air quality readings and guidance on health risks.
What the AQHI measures
The AQHI measures these three important pollutants:
Particulate matter 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in diameter and less (1 micron is 1/1000 of a mm)
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
The AQHI scale
The AQHI scale goes from 1 to 10+. The lower the number, the better the air quality and the lower the health risk from outdoor air pollution. The scale below shows the AQHI values and their associated colours, and the categories from “low risk” to “very high risk”.
Are you at risk?
Use the chart below for steps to take based on the AQHI level and whether or not you are in the “at risk population”.
Tips to protect your breathing
Follow these tips to protect your lungs and breathing from air pollution:
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