Air Quality Monitoring Network
Outdoor air is one of the most valuable resources for current and future generations because it provides essential gases to sustain life while also shielding the Earth from harmful radiation. Air pollution and toxins can compromise human health and the environment in many ways!
The Division of Energy & Environment has introduced a network of air quality monitors to be stationed around the County. The new system will provide real-time tracking of fine particulate matter concentrations in our air.
Why Is Particulate Matter Bad?
Fine particulate matter are microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are small enough to be inhaled and go deep into the lungs and bloodstream, causing serious health problems. Examples of fine particulate matter include smoke, diesel fumes and industrial by-products air contaminants.
Air Quality Effects Everyone Differently
Air quality concerns can vary significantly within a region. DEE has initiated this project to track local air pollution, especially in high-risk regions and where people may not be able to respond to air quality problems. Neighborhoods bordering industrial operations can be continually exposed to particulates in the air. And those who live or work near busy roads may breathe in many different pollutants regularly.
DEE's goal of this project is to better understand the air quality of specific areas in Frederick County and to make that information readily accessible to the public. Residents can use the information to make informed decisions on their households' outdoor activity levels and a platform to advocate for better air quality in their community.
Want to check the air quality? Use the real-time online map!
What Do the Air Quality Color Indicators Mean?
Have Questions, Suggestions or Concerns?
Contact Tiara Lester, Sustainability Program Administrator
Check out the EPA AirNow.gov website!
Pollen can exacerbate the effects of pollution and vice versa. Get the latest pollen counts and forecast here: Pollen.com
|Brunswick DPW||811 West Potomac Street, Brunswick Maryland|
|Lime Kiln||Rt 85 and Lime Kiln|
|Prospect Center||585 Himes Avenue, Frederick Maryland|
|Sagner||401 Sagner Avenue|
|Senior Center||1440 Taney Avenue, Frederick Maryland|
|Thurmont||11 Water Street, Thurmont Maryland|
Why is Air Quality Important?
Local air quality affects how you live and breathe. Like the weather, it can change from day to day or even hour to hour. A key tool in this effort is the Air Quality Index, or AQI.
What is the U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI)?
The U.S. AQI is EPA’s index for reporting air quality. The AQI can provide simple information about your local air quality, how unhealthy air may affect you, and how you can protect your health.
How does the AQI work?
Think of the AQI as a yardstick that runs from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. For example, an AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.
For each pollutant an AQI value of 100 generally corresponds to an ambient air concentration that equals the level of the short-term national ambient air quality standard for protection of public health. AQI values at or below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory. When AQI values are above 100, air quality is unhealthy: at first for certain sensitive groups of people, then for everyone as AQI values get higher.
What are the AQI categories?
The AQI is divided into six categories. Each category corresponds to a different level of health concern. Each category also has a specific color. The color makes it easy for people to quickly determine whether air quality is reaching unhealthy levels in their communities.
Categories are Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple and Maroon.
What are the five major air pollutants?
EPA establishes an AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act. Each of these pollutants has a national air quality standard set by EPA to protect public health:
- ground-level ozone
- particle pollution (also known as particulate matter, including PM2.5 and PM10)
- carbon monoxide
- sulfur dioxide
- nitrogen dioxide
How Does the PurpleAir Sensor Map work?
What is the difference between ozone and particulate matter?
Ozone is a gas found in the air we breathe and depending on where it occurs. Good ozone is present naturally in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Bad ozone forms near the ground when pollutants (emitted by sources such as cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, and chemical plants) react chemically in sunlight. Ozone pollution is more likely to form in warmer months.
Particulate matter consists of a mixture of solids and liquid droplets. Some particles are emitted directly; others form when pollutants emitted by various sources react in the atmosphere. Particle pollution levels can be very unhealthy and even hazardous during events such as forest fires. Particle levels can be elevated indoors, especially when outdoor particle levels are high.
Fine particles are 2.5 micrometers or smaller, that are generated from motor vehicles, power plants, residential wood burning, forest fires, agricultural burning, some industrial processes, and other combustion processes. Large/Coarse particles are between 2.5 and 10 micrometers, are generated from crushing or grinding operations, and dust stirred up by vehicles traveling on roads.
What are the health impacts from ozone and particulate matter?
Health effects from Bad Ozone consists of:
- Respiratory System Irritation
- Reduced Lung Function
- Permanent Lung Damage
Health effects from Particulate Matter can consist of:
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of breath
- Increase Susceptibility to Respiratory Infections
- Increased Emergency Room visits for Sensitive Populations