Air Quality Guide for Particle Pollution

Harmful particle pollution is one of our nation’s most common air pollutants. Use the chart below to help
reduce your exposure and protect your health. For the air quality index of your place, visit

Key Facts to Know About Particle Pollution:
• Particle pollution can cause serious health problems – including asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and early death.
• Particle pollution can be a problem at any time of the year, depending on where you live.
• You can reduce your exposure to pollution and still get exercise! Use daily Air Quality Index (AQI) to decide your activity.

What is particle pollution?
Particle pollution comes from many different sources.
Fine particles (2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller) come from power plants, industrial processes, vehicle tailpipes, woodstoves, and wildfres. Coarse particles (between 2.5 and 10 micrometers) come from crushing and grinding operations, road dust, and some agricultural operations.

Why is particle pollution a problem?
Particle pollution is linked to a number of health problems, including coughing, wheezing, reduced lung function, asthma attacks, heart attacks and
strokes. It also is linked to early death.

Do I need to be concerned?
While it’s always smart to pay attention to air quality where you live, some people may be at greater risk from particle pollution. They include:
• People with cardiovascular disease (diseases of the heart and blood vessels)
• People with lung disease, including asthma and COPD
• Children and teenagers
• Older adults
• Research indicates that obesity or diabetes may increase risk.
• New or expectant mothers may also want to take precautions to protect the health of their babies.

How can I protect myself?
Use to help you avoid outdoor activities on the bad air quality days. Take simple steps to reduce your exposure:
• Choose a less-strenuous activity
• Shorten your outdoor activities
• Reschedule activities
• Spend less time near busy roads
When particle levels are high outdoors, they can
be high indoors – unless the building has a good
fltration system.
Keep particles lower indoors:
• Eliminate tobacco smoke
• Reduce your use of wood stoves and freplaces
• Use air flters and air cleaners designed to
reduce particles
• Don’t burn candles
Can I help reduce particle pollution?
Yes! Here are a few tips.
• Drive less: carpool, use public transportation, bike
or walk
• Set thermostats higher in summer and lower
in winter
• Don’t burn leaves, garbage, plastic or rubber
• Keep car, boat and other engines tuned

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