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Outdoor Air

National air quality has improved since the 1990's, but many challenges remain in protecting public health and the environment from air quality problems. Federal, state, local, and tribal air agencies operate and maintain a wide variety of outdoor air monitoring systems across the United States. Many of these systems serve several environmental purposes. At a basic level, they let us know how clean or polluted the air is, help us track progress in reducing air pollution, and share information with the public about air quality in their communities through the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is a tool to help you quickly learn when air pollution is likely to reach unhealthy levels.

Air pollution in the United States poses a public health threat affecting potentially millions of people throughout the country. It is associated with health problems that include increased emergency department visits and hospitals stays for breathing and heart problems, asthma, and increases in illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

Cars and trucks on interstate with polluted sky in backgroundTracking air pollution can help people understand how often they are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution. Having these data can also help public health professionals or policymakers understand which areas may be most in need of prevention and control activities.

The Tracking Network includes data about ozone, particulate matter (PM2.5), benzene, and formaldehyde.

 

 

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