What is the Air Quality Index (AQI)?

When we breathe, we cannot see the air around us, but did you know that its quality can have a significant impact on our health? The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an essential tool that helps us understand and monitor the air quality we breathe.

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What is the Air Quality Index (AQI)?
How does the Air Quality Index work?
Why are there different air quality indices?
Why is the Air Quality Index important for your health?
The Meersens AQI (MAQI)

What is the Air Quality Index (AQI)?

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a standardized measurement system used in many countries to assess ambient air quality. It is a number that indicates the amount of atmospheric pollutants present in the air and allows for the evaluation of potential effects on human health. The AQI assesses pollutant levels such as fine particles (PM2.5 and PM10), ozone, nitrogen dioxide, or sulfur dioxide, for example.

💡Good to know: not all pollutants have the same health effects at the same concentrations. Fine particles, for example, are pollutants considered ‘without threshold’ because their presence, even at very low concentrations (a few µg/m3), can impact health. On the other hand, ozone at low concentrations, for example, a few µg/m3, has not shown any effect on health.

How does the Air Quality Index work?

In reality, there is no single Air Quality Index (AQI) that is universally used by all countries.

Air quality index systems generally use a color or numerical scale to indicate the level of atmospheric pollution and its impact on human health. The colors may vary between countries, but they usually follow a similar logic:

🟢 Good (0-50): Good air quality, low health risk.

🟡 Moderate (51-100): Acceptable, moderate risk for certain sensitive individuals.

🟠 Unhealthy for sensitive group (101-150): Unhealthy for sensitive groups (children, elderly, people with respiratory issues).

🔴 Unhealthy(151-200): Mauvaise pour tout le monde, risque élevé pour la santé.

🟣 Veru unhealthy (201-300): Unhealthy for everyone, high health risk.

🟤 Hazardous (301-500): Hazardous, health emergency.

Why are there different air quality indices?

There are several air quality indices worldwide due to the diversity of environmental policies, regulatory standards, and regional specificities regarding air quality. Each country or region may have its own air quality objectives, pollution sources, and thresholds for atmospheric pollutants. Air quality indices vary based on the measured parameters, rating scales, and pollutants considered.

Thus, there is a European Air Quality Index, a Chinese Air Quality Index, a Canadian Air Quality Index, an Air Quality Index for the United States, and so on. It can be challenging to navigate when trying to compare pollution on a global scale! However, there are also international standards, such as those defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), which serve as a reference for assessing air quality on a global level.

Why is the Air Quality Index important for your health?

The air quality we breathe can have a considerable impact on our health. Fine particles, ozone, and other pollutants can cause or worsen respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies, and lung diseases. Moreover, poor air quality is associated with cardiovascular issues, headaches, fatigue, and even long-term cognitive problems.

The AQI provides real-time information on air quality, enabling individuals and public health officials to take preventive measures to protect the population. If you live in an area where air quality is often poor, regularly monitoring the AQI is essential to adjust your activities accordingly and safeguard your health.

Thus, the higher the AQI value, the greater the health risk, and conversely, a low AQI indicates a reduced impact on health.

The Meersens AQI (MAQI)

Meersens has decided to develop a new index, the MAQI (Meersens Air Quality Index), combining its real-time and long-term exposure indices to simplify them for better public understanding.

The index is based on pollutant concentrations according to the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and countries worldwide, based on the duration of exposure. In this new air quality index, the health risk associated with a specific concentration indicates the time a person can remain exposed to pollutants before there is a health risk.

This approach remains relevant compared to other indices as it allows for a better understanding of risks and the formulation of recommendations to prevent health risks associated with exposure to poor air quality.

Meersens Air Quality Index (MAQI)

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a powerful tool that allows us to monitor the air quality we breathe and take actions to protect our health and the environment.

Meersens is the solution for real-time global environmental monitoring, with street-level accuracy! Meersens collects multi-pollutant and multi-index data, covering various standards such as European, Chinese, American, and many more.

Our platform offers maximum flexibility to customers in terms of air quality. They can easily integrate their own AQI and use custom metrics to assess air quality according to their specific needs or preferences. Thus, Meersens provides a tailored experience to meet the unique needs of our customers.

Take advantage of Meersens’ Environmental Intelligence now to stay informed and act accordingly!

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Solution Meersens - Santé environnementale

Meersens est une entreprise à impact positif dans le domaine de la santé environnementale, mobilisée pour créer un avenir durable, permettant d’atténuer les risques environnementaux et de contribuer positivement à la santé et au bien-être des parties prenantes – en offrant une surveillance et une prévention environnementales personnalisées.

Meersens offre une vision et une surveillance multi-polluants à 360°, en temps réel, historique et prédictive, pour n’importe quel lieu, avec une grande précision, vous permettant d’atténuer les risques et de prendre de meilleures décisions.

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