What is the Air Quality Health Index?
|The AQHI provides a number from 1 to 10+ to indicate the level of health risk associated with local air quality. Occasionally, when the amount of air pollution is extremely high, the number may exceed 10, such as air quality associated with wild fire smoke.
The higher the AQHI number, the greater the health risk and need to take precautions. The index describes the level of health risk associated with this number as ‘low’, ‘moderate’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’, and suggests steps we can take to reduce our exposure.
The AQHI is a guide to the relative health risk presented by a mixture of common air pollutants known to harm human health. These pollutants are Ground-level Ozone (O3), Particulate Matter (PM2.5), and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). More...
The AQHI also forecasts health risks from air quality for today and tomorrow and provides associated health advice. The Index does not measure the effects of pollen, heat or humidity on health. You can refer to the AQHI to check the quality of outdoor air in your community before heading off to work or play, and use the forecasts to plan your activities, whether over the next hour or the next day.
Older adults, parents of children with asthma, and people suffering from heart or lung disease can use the Index to assess the immediate risk air pollution poses to your health and take steps to lessen that risk. Even if you’re relatively healthy, fit and active, you can consult the Index to decide when and how much activity to undertake outdoors.
Download the AQHI Fact Sheet to learn more.
In Alberta, unlike other parts of the country, the AQHI number also considers hourly comparisons of individual pollutant concentrations as part of Alberta’s Ambient Air Quality Objectives (AAQOs). If hourly air pollutant concentrations are higher than Alberta’s AAQOs, then the AQHI value is replaced with the appropriate “High” or “Very High” risk value. This adjustment is relevant for particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. In addition, special community-based messaging for odour and visibility is used when hydrogen sulphide and total reduced sulphur (odour) concentrations or fine particulate matter (visibility) concentrations exceed specified
We all affect air quality. There are actions everyone can take to reduce air pollution and to keep the air cleaner and healthier for people to breathe. Learn more: