Air Quality

Air Quality

Ground level ozone and particle pollution affect the quality of the air we breath. The U.S. Air Quality Index is a color-coded index designed to communicate whether air quality is healthy or unhealthy for you.

For example, when temperatures rise in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, the region typically experiences several "Code Orange" air quality days. This means that air pollution concentrations are unhealthy for sensitive groups and they should take precautions. A "Code Red" day means that air pollution concentrations within the region are unhealthy for the general population and that everyone should take precautions. 

Air Quality Forecasts 

When you know the Air Quality Index for your area, you can take steps to protect your health. Monitor local air quality forecasts:

Take Precautions

When air pollution concentrations are unhealthy, consider taking these precautions: 

  • Avoid being outdoors if you have a respiratory or heart ailment, emphysema, asthma or chronic bronchitis.
  • Avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines.
  • Combine trips.
  • Limit strenuous outdoor activity.
  • Keep outdoor activities short.
  • Reschedule outdoor activities or moving them indoors.

Reduce Air Pollution

  • Carpool or take public transit.
  • Drive less. Avoid long drive-thru lines. 
  • Postpone mowing.
  • Refuel vehicles after dark.

More Information