As temperatures warm and people head outdoors, they can usually count on good air quality. In fact, Iowans especially have something to celebrate. Over the last 25 years, Iowa industries have significantly reduced six major air pollutants while growing our economy.
Iowa’s population and many economic indicators have climbed since 1990. Yet two air pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone and airborne particles—the pollutants that pose the greatest threat to human health—have decreased significantly. Sulfur dioxide emissions are down 60 percent and nitrogen oxides are down 43 percent.
Find out more about air quality trends in Iowa and your neighborhood. Or, explore a few ways to save money while helping everyone breathe easier.
Go ahead. Celebrate air quality improvements during Air Quality Awareness Week, April 30 to May 4.
While there is much to celebrate during Air Quality Awareness Week, there are days when local air quality can pose health risks to sensitive populations. If in doubt or planning outdoor activities, consult the Air Quality Index, www.iowacleanair.gov, to learn about current and local conditions.
The color-coded map summarizes ozone and particulate matter levels. In Iowa, the map is usually green for good air quality.
If pollution is high, the Air Quality Index will show orange areas, cautioning sensitive groups like the elderly, children, and those with heart or lung diseases to limit strenuous outdoor activities.
Athletes and those who love outdoor activities or work outdoors may also be affected by ozone, because the more active they are, the faster and deeper they breathe.
For information concerning current levels of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, check the Polk County, Linn County and State Hygienic Laboratory websites:
State Hygienic Laboratory: www.shl.uiowa.edu/env/ambient/realtime.xml
Polk County: cms.polkcountyiowa.gov/airquality/pages/CurrentAQI.aspx
Linn County: www.linncleanair.org/Content/Current-Air-Quality.aspx