What AQI should you not go outside?

The environmental protection agency (EPA) Monitors the air quality index on a daily basis.The monitoring is done on five major pollutants namely; SO2, NO2, Ozone, CO and particulate matter (both PM10 and PM2.5). Based on the concentration level of each pollutant a certain value is assigned between the range 0-500. The higher values depict higher pollution levels and vice versa. The values below 100 are generally considered safer or satisfactory. The values greater than 100 are considered unhealthy, and as the values increase the air quality keeps on getting unhealthy.

So, in this article we will discuss the Air Quality index, what air quality  should you not go outside, what are the health impacts and what measures we can take to protect ourselves from the impact of harmful pollutants. So read this article till the end to know more. 

What air quality should you not go outside?  

According to the EPA the air quality index of 201-300 is considered very unhealthy and 301-500 is considered as hazardous. Under these Air quality values everyone; including both healthy people and sensitive groups should limit their outdoor exertion. 

What are the Air Quality parameters?

The environmental protection agency (EPA) Monitors the air quality index on a daily basis.The monitoring is done on six major pollutants namely; SO2, NO2, CO, Ozone, PM10 and PM2.5 and lastly Lead.  Based on the concentration level of each pollutant a certain value is assigned between the range 0-500. The higher values are correlated to higher pollution levels and vice versa.

Below is the table depicting the air quality parameters:

Air Quality IndexEPA advisory for major pollutants including Ozone, PM10 AND PM2.5
0-50  Good Great day to be outdoors 
51-100 ModerateNice time to be outdoors 
101-150  Unhealthy For      Sensitive Groups Healthy people should limit prolonged outdoor exertion
Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exertion for a long time.
151-200  UnhealthyHealthy people should limit prolonged outdoor exertion 
Sensitive groups should avoid outdoor exertion for a long time
201-300  Very Unhealthy Everyone should limit their outdoor exertion. 
301-500  Hazardous Outdoor exertion should be completely avoided 

 

 

How do these pollutants affect our health?

These air pollutants have the following health effects:

Health impacts of SO2Health effects of NO2Health effects of OzoneHealth effects of carbon monoxide Health effects of PM10 and PM2.5Health effects of Lead
WheezingCoughingHealth effects caused by NO2 includes:CoughingExposure to this toxic gas can irritate your throat and lung linings. impaired vision and coordination, dizziness, confusion, nausea CoughingRunny noseStinging eyes 

 

 

Ways to limit our exposure to the harmful pollutants

Check for ground level Ozone Pollution

 When the ground level Ozone concentration increases, it leads to poor air quality. With the increasing ozone levels the outdoor exertion level should be planned accordingly. 

However the normal physical activities can be performed indoors under controlled conditions like air conditioners and air purifiers when ozone concentrations are high outside. 

Plan any outdoor activities in morning 

During early mornings, the ozone concentration is lower as compared to mid afternoon. So you can plan your activities in the mornings.However,  If the AQI has reached to harmful levels you can schedule your outdoor activities to the next day. 

Below is the activity recommendation table that will help you to choose the right time for outdoor activities:

Air Quality IndexShort duration (15 mins )Duration for Prolonged exertion (1 hour)Duration for strenuous activities( 2-4+ hrs)Duration for scheduled activities like sports events 
0-50  Good Safe for outdoor activities Safe for outdoor activities Safe for outdoor activities Safe for outdoor activities 
51-100 ModerateSafe for outdoor activities Safe for outdoor activities Safe for outdoor activities Safe for outdoor activities 
101-150  Unhealthy For      Sensitive Groups Short duration physical activities can be done Ideal for mild physical activities Ideal for mild physical activities with frequent rest periodsIdeal for mild physical activities with frequent rest periods
151-200  UnhealthyShort duration physical activities can be done but watch for symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath Mild exercise can be done but watch for symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath Avoid doing strenuous exercises with frequent rest periods All the outdoor  activities should be reschedule or relocation is ideal in this situation 
201-300  Very Unhealthy Restrict outdoor activity, preferably stay indoorsRestrict outdoor activity, preferably stay indoorsRestrict outdoor activity, preferably stay indoorsAll the outdoor activities should be reschedule or relocation is ideal in this situation

Check for particle pollution concentration: 

Particle Pollution (PM2.5): when the concentration of PM2.5 is high in the ambient air, the air quality both outdoors and indoors gets affected. In this case the amount of physical activity should be limited. 

In such a case, installing air purifiers and HVAC systems will improve the indoor air quality. 

By installing air purifiers

Given below are the links of few air purifiers that will keep your house clean and safe:

Air purifier : GermGuardian Air Purifier

  • Features: Germ guardian 5 in 1 air purifier is an electrostatic HEPA air filter and offers a removal efficiency of about 99.97% against particles as small as 0.3 microns. 
  • Efficiently removes harmful germs like viruses, odor causing bacteria, mold spores, mildew, and other allergens like;  dust, pet hair, and other large particles; like PM10
  • The efficient UV-C light kills airborne viruses such as influenza, staph and rhinovirus. 
  • The filter also removes the VOC concentration with the help of titanium dioxide. 
  • The activated charcoal filter is effective against cooking odor, tobacco smoke, fumes, pet odor etc. 
  • Offers quiet operation; with the Ultra-quiet sleep mode it operates on low sound levels to get you a good night’s sleep.  
  • GermGuardian Air Purifiers are ideal for medium to large rooms having an area of about 743 sq ft.

Air purifier: Instant Air Purifier

  • Features: Instant air purifiers are proven to kill 99.9% of Covid-19 virus, bacteria, mold, and other harmful viruses. 
  • With its Advanced 3-in-1filtration; HEPA-13, Activated Carbon, Antimicrobial coating and plasma ion technology it removes 99.97% of pollutants like particulate matter tobacco smoke, pet dander, certain odors and other impurities. 
  • Its advanced sensors offer a 24×7 air quality monitoring with auto fan speed adjust feature.
  • It filters the air in an area of 126 sq ft 5x per hour 
  • With its whisper quiet night mode it offers lower noise for a sound sleep.
  • The filters last upto 8 month, after that it needs to be replaced.

Air purifier: LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home

  • Features: You can access this device from anywhere, fan speeds can also be operated through your smartphone. 
  • Better purification with its 360 degree design. Suitable for large rooms. 
  • It has an ultra fine nylon pre filter and activated carbon filter. 
  • Highly efficient against 99.7% contaminants for particles as small as 0.3 microns such as; dust pollen, pet hair, mold, odor etc. 
  • Does not make much noise
  • Voice control feature 

 

 

By installing an HVAC systems 

The HVAC system works efficiently towards filtering airborne contaminants and also helps in continuous circulation of air.

Given below are the links of few HVAC systems that will keep your house clean and safe:

HVAC System:  Honeywell F300E1019 Electronic Air Cleaner

  • Features: This can be operated with gas, oil and AC systems. 
  • Efficiency for capturing particles is upto 98%.
  • Has a very low pressure drop

HVAC System: DAIKIN Inverter Air Conditioner Heat Pump System

  • Features: Daikin’s ductless technology offers  greater  energy efficiency; cools and warms up the room fast.
  • Smart inverter technology with integrated inverted variable speed compressor
  • Provides continuous heating and cooling with minimum temperature fluctuations.
  • Quiet operation; with indoor sound levels as low as 37 decibels. 

Using fans for the improvement of air flow indoors 

If opening windows are not feasible consider using bathroom and stove exhaust fans. Try placing the fans close to an open window or a door. This ensures better air circulation and draws the air borne particles like viruses, bacteria and particulates out of your house.

Below are the best exhaust ventilation and for improving the air flow in your room:

Fan: AC Infinity AIRLIFT Exhaust Fan

  • Features: Offers high airflow; draws out heat, moisture, odor, and dust etc.
  • EC-motor with PWM-control increases and reduces energy consumption and noise levels (67dB)
  • Blades are made of aluminum that are resistant to liquid and dust

Fan: VENTISOL Variable Shutter Exhaust Fan

  • Features: Provides superior airflow; ideal for  garages, gardens, attics, barns, greenhouses, basements etc.
  • Easy installation consists of hard wire connection for wiring.
  • Body made of galvanized steel frame, 3 aluminum shutter blades, fully enclosed ball bearing motor, self closing shutter system provides protection to fans when not in use.
  • It’s suitable for ventilating a building to the outside.
  • Powerful & Efficient: 120 volts at 70W, 0.57 amps, with 1680rpm

 

Use of evaporative coolers 

Evaporative coolers are also known as swamp coolers. They help in increasing the ventilation in the room and also cools down the indoor air. Evaporative coolers are ideal for dry climates. They require water to provide cooling and also enhances the relative humidity of the room.

Below are some links to the best evaporative coolers that offers better airflow for your room:

Evaporative cooler: Pro Breeze Evaporative Air Cooler 

  • Offers powerful cooling with its  waterfall cooling technology that propels air through an ice cold honeycomb filter.
  • A portable swamp cooler air conditioner ideal for room, home office or bedroom.
  • This is a 3-in-1 appliance which can operate as an air cooler, a cooling fan and a humidifier.
  • It runs at just 0.0065 kw/h, which is much more energy efficient than an air conditioner hence it is energy efficient & cost-effective

Evaporative cooler: Air Cooler Sunday Living

  • This swamp cooler has a double layer water circulation system which purifies air can also be used as a humidifier or a fan
  • Water tank has a large capacity with visible water level window 
  • This cooler does not have compressor and chemical refrigerants and hence it is environmental friendly 
  • Comes with a bladeless cooling solution 
  • Cost effective Compared with your costly AC,
  • Safer to use in the household that has children or pets.

Other FAQs about Air Quality that you may be interested in.

Can Bad Air Quality Give You Diarrhea?

Can bad air quality increase blood pressure?

Bad Air Quality in Minnesota

Conclusion

So, in this article we discussed the Air Quality index, what air quality  should you not go outside and what measures we can take to protect ourselves from the impact of harmful pollutants. We hope you found this article helpful. 

References:

hthttps://www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/environmental-information/air-quality/pm10-particles-in-the-air

https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/environmental-information/air-quality/pm25-particles-in-the-air
https://www.filtrete.com/3M/en_US/filtrete/home-tips/full-story/~/air-awareness-101-air-quality-index-decoded/?storyid=904ac859-c836-4cd1-af67-d6be265570a9
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-aqd-AQI-Actions_327479_7.pdf
https://www.filtrete.com/3M/en_US/filtrete/home-tips/full-story/~/air-awareness-101-air-quality-index-decoded/?storyid=904ac859-c836-4cd1-af67-d6be265570a9

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment