Statewide Iowa — While there is much to celebrate during Air Quality Awareness Week, April 29 to May 3, there are days when local air quality can pose health risks to sensitive populations.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says that over the last 25 years, Iowa industries have significantly reduced six major air pollutants while growing our economy.
In fact, Iowa is”enjoying some of the cleanest air in the country,” according to a July 2018 CNBC quality of life study. The nationwide study tied Iowa with Montana as the seventh-best state to live in based on quality of life factors such as a clean environment.
The DNR says you can check the Air Quality Index at 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 State Hygienic Laboratory website at www.shl.uiowa.edu/env/ambient/realtime.xml