Healthy air = healthy you
Checking local air quality can help you plan your day. The following panels show today's forecast for air quality and provide access to tomorrow's forecast as well as real-time readings on EPA's Air Quality Index. During ozone season — from March 1 through October 31 — the index reflects meteorological conditions and data from the state's ambient air quality monitors for ozone and particulate matter. Real-time readings may change during the day, especially if temperature and humidity rise substantially, so it's a good idea to check them frequently.
Note: The St. Louis panel will provide only the current air quality until May 1. Access this information by clicking the link at the bottom of the panel.
Other options for accessing information about air quality include:
* AirNow.gov. Enter a zip code or the state of Missouri into the search engine at the top of the page.
* EnviroFlash, a service that sends out bulletins about air quality. You pick the bulletins you want. Choices include daily forecasts and/or notifications of action days — days forecasted orange to maroon on EPA's Air Quality Index.
Understanding the Air Quality Index
EPA created its color-coded index to help people figure out how air quality can affect their health. Colors relate to levels of health concern, and numerical values reflect the department's data and meteorological conditions. For example, a value of 100 on the Air Quality Index corresponds to the federal standard for a pollutant, or the level EPA has set to protect public health.
On days with high readings on the Air Quality Index, protect yourself and your family.
* Limit your time outdoors, especially if you have asthma or other respiratory issues.
* Avoid prolonged or vigorous outdoor activity.
* Reschedule outdoor activities for another day.
* Keep your windows closed at home and in your vehicle to minimize exposure to ground-level ozone (smog).
* Avoid high-traffic areas, where the concentration of ozone — also known as smog — may be especially high.
* Understand the effects that air pollution can have on your health. Be proactive.
To learn more:
- EPA newsletter: How Can You Protect Your Heart from Air Pollution?
- EPA leaflet: Asthma and Outdoor Air Pollution
- EPA's webpage: Health Heart Toolkit and Research
One person can make a difference in Missouri's air quality. Reducing the amount of dangerous emissions from vehicles benefits our outdoor air. You can safeguard Missouri's air quality by taking the following steps. These tips and many others appear in the department's fact sheet "What You Can Do to Improve the Air" and its publication about ways to minimize idling.
* Reduce gas consumption, help the air and save money.
* Instead of driving every day to work, try carpooling, bicycling and using public transport.
Walk, if possible.
* Keep your tires inflated to the suggested amount.
* Minimize idling. Turn off your engine while waiting in drive-through lines and drop-off zones.
* Stop at the first click when filling your vehicle's tank to avoid releasing dangerous fumes.
Conserve energy and lower emissions from power plants.
* Replace your home's air filters regularly.
* Use LED bulbs.
* Turn off appliances when not in use.
* Air-dry clothing and linens. Use white vinegar in the rinse cycle, reduce the amount of detergent and fluff briefly in the dryer to decrease stiffness.
* Raise your thermostat in winter, lower it in summer.