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The US EPA has developed an Air Quality Index (AQI) (see chart below) to provide easy to understand information on local air quality and whether air pollution levels pose a health concern.

Air Quality Index health rankings are based on 1-hour and 24-hour concentration averages. EPA developed the health indices based on 24-hour averages. Idaho State’s Department of Environmental Quality developed health indices based on 1-hour averages.

PM2.5 24-hr Avg. Concentration (ug/m3) PM2.5 1-hr Avg. Concentration (ug/m3) Index Values Visibility (Miles) Level of Health Concern Cautionary Statements
0.0 – 12.0 0.0 – 40.0 0-50 > 10 Good None
12.1 – 35.4 40.1 – 80.0 51 – 100** 5.1 – 10.0 Moderate None
35.5 – 55.4 80.1 – 175.0 101 - 150 3.1 – 5.0 Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should limit prolonged exertion.
55.5 – 150.4 175.1 – 300.0 151 – 200 1.6 – 3.0 Unhealthy People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should avoid prolonged exertion, everyone else should limit prolonged exertion.
150.5 – 250.4 300.1 – 500 201 – 300 1.0 – 1.5 Very Unhealthy People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should avoid any outdoor activity, everyone else should avoid prolonged exertion.
250.5 + 500.0 + 301 - 500 < 1.0 Hazardous Everyone should avoid any outdoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors.