Healthy air = healthy you
Checking your local air quality index will help you plan your activities.
Air Quality Index
The Air Quality Index tracks ozone and particle pollution. This report tells you how clean (or polluted) the air is to help you understand what local air quality means in relation to your health. Each color code corresponds to a different level of health concern. The specific colors of the Air Quality Index makes it easier to understand where the air quality falls on the scale. For instance, "Good" air days are in the 0-50 range on the chart. "Moderate" is in the 51-100 range.
Using the Air Quality Index will help you plan your activities for the day, particularly on days when the air is less healthy (orange to maroon on the index chart).
When the index is in the orange to maroon categories:
- If you have asthma or other respiratory issues, limit your time outdoors.
- Avoid prolonged or vigorous outdoor activity.
- You may want to use an allergy face mask if you are going to be outdoors or doing chores outside.
- Keep your windows closed at home or in the car to avoid smog exposure.
- Avoid high-traffic areas particularly on unhealthy air days.
- Make sure you stay hydrated.
- Always breathe through your nose so that your nose does its job to filter out pollutants.
You can check the Air Quality Index or AirNow forecasts for your area to plan ways to reduce your exposure to air pollution. The Air Quality Index reports are raw data. When looking at raw data, realize this is just an approximation as the numerical data has not been verified. You may also check the National Weather Service Air Quality Forecast Guidance.
AirNow forecast maps are created with data courtesy of Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Links to AirNow maps are provided below:
- Kansas City Air Quality Forecast
- Springfield Air Quality Forecast
- St. Louis Air Quality Forecast
- Missouri Air Quality Forecast - Go to upper right corner and click on state or zip code
- NOAA Peak 8-hr Ozone Air Quality Index Guidance map
- Current Ozone and Particle Maps
You can also sign up for Air Quality Notifications. (Not available for all locations).
Common Air Pollutants
The Environmental Protection Agency has set certain permissible levels, known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, for six common air pollutants. These levels, or standards, are based on what concentration of a specific pollutant it would take to become a health or environmental hazard. Click on one of the pollutants below for information on the health effects of that particular pollutant:
- Burn Season - Information regarding burn season, open burning, including links to fact sheets.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
- Clean Air Act
- Common Air Pollutants - Six common air pollutants, known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards
- The Darker Side of Ozone
- Indoor Air - Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
- Indoor Air Pollution - Information on the normally seen causes of indoor air pollution ranging from smoking to carbon monoxide.
- Indoor Air Quality - EPA information covering many of the concerns that people have about indoor air quality.
- Missouri's Air Quality Monitoring Network
- Tips to save energy and money this winter - Save energy and costs with changes to lighting, thermostats and heating, and energy efficiency. Available in Spanish: Consejos para ahorrar energia durante el invierno.
- Visual Air Pollution, Fact Sheet--PUB2198
- What You Can Do to Improve the Air, Fact Sheet--PUB2199