Air Pollution Control Program
Healthy air = healthy you.
Millions of people have asthma or are affected by respiratory ailments. Here's why according to EPA: "particle pollution can penetrate deep into the lungs, aggravating lung disease, triggering asthma attacks and bronchitis, and increasing susceptibility to respiratory infections. Ozone can inflame the airways, reduce lung function and make people more sensitive to allergens – all of which can be problems for people with asthma."
Heat and sunlight can mix with volatile organic compounds, such as pollution from vehicles, businesses and power plants, to produce ground-level ozone - commonly known as smog. Ozone pollution is generally more of a problem in the hot summer months, May through September. Ozone levels from the combustion of fossil fuels tend to rise mid-morning, several hours after rush-hour and peak in the late afternoon.
Smoke, soot, dust and dirt particles are included in a group known as particulate matter or particle pollution. Particulate matter (PM) is an airborne mixture of liquid droplets and solid particles made up of organic chemicals, metals, acids or dust particles. There are two groups of PM that matter the most since they can easily be inhaled:
PM10: particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometers frequently found near roadways and dust-creating industries.
PM2.5: fine particles 2.5 micrometers and smaller that lurks in smoke from burning oil, coal, wood or residential waste; smog, haze and vehicle exhaust.
Even with asthma, you can learn to control symptoms and still maintain active lifestyles with these three simple steps:
- Identify and avoid your personal asthma triggers: Air pollution, smoke, mold, pests, dust mites and pet dander.
- Create an asthma action plan. Monitor your asthma on a daily basis to determine your personal asthma triggers and formulate asthma control strategies.
- Pay attention to your air quality index. Ozone and particle pollution exposure may cause asthma attacks. When air quality is moderate or unhealthy, you may want to stay indoors as much as possible. Check your local air quality index to help plan your activities.
The Air Quality Index tracks ozone and particle pollution. This report tells you how clean (or polluted) the air is to help you understand what local air quality means in relation to your health. Each color code corresponds to a different level of health concern. The specific colors of the Air Quality Index makes it easier to understand where the air quality falls on the scale. For instance, "Good" air days are in the 0-50 range on the chart. "Moderate" is in the 51-100 range.
Using the Air Quality Index will help you plan your activities for the day, particularly on days when the air is less healthy.
- If you have asthma or other respiratory issues, limit your time outdoors when the index is orange or worse.
- Avoid prolonged or vigorous outdoor activity on days that are coded orange or worse.
- You may want to use an allergy face mask if you are going to be outdoors or doing chores outside.
- Keep your windows closed at home or in the car to avoid smog exposure.
- Avoid high-traffic areas particularly on unhealthy air days.
- Make sure you stay hydrated.
- Always breathe through your nose so that your nose does its job to filter out pollutants.
You can check the Air Quality Index or AirNow forecasts for your area to plan ways to reduce your exposure to air pollution. The Air Quality Index reports are raw data. When looking at raw data, realize this is just an approximation as the numerical data has not been verified. You may also check the National Weather Service Air Quality Forecast Guidance.
AirNow forecast maps are created with data courtesy of Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Links to AirNow maps are provided below:
You can also sign up for Air Quality Notifications. (Not available for all locations).
The Environmental Protection Agency has set certain permissible levels, known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, for six common air pollutants. These levels, or standards, are based on what concentration of a specific pollutant it would take to become a health or environmental hazard. Click on one of the pollutants below for information on the health effects of that particular pollutant:
- 4-States Clean Air Alliance - (FSCAA) includes Jasper and Newton Counties in Missouri. The alliance was formed to proactively address the issue of ground-level ozone.
- Action4Air - Rockwood School District's Center for Creative Learning in Ellisville won EPA 7's 2012 President's Environmental Youth Award for their work on an Action4Air vehicle anti-idling campaign to reduce idling at the Center for Creative Learning.
- Air Quality Awareness Week Air Quality Awareness Week begins last week of April.
- Air Quality Notifications - Subscribe to EnviroFlash Air Quality Notifications and start receiving your air quality forecast today! (Not available for all locations).
- Air Quality Tips for Individuals - Clean Air Partnership air quality tips
- Air Quality Workplace Partnership - Greater Kansas City members receive ozone alert notifications, air pollution reduction tips, free workshops, air quality awareness materials, and more.
- AirNow Publications
- Asbestos is nothing to sneeze at - Blog regarding asbestos dangers
- Asthma - Tips and triggers from EPA. EPA's Communities in Action Asthma Initiative
- Bike Events Calendar - Kansas Cyclist
- BikeMO - Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Foundation
- Bike Month Special Events - The League of American Bicyclists listing of special events for May is National Bike Month.
- Bike to School Day - Missouri Safe Routes to School.
- Bike to Work Week - Ozark Greensways Springfield.
- Care for Your Air: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality - EPA guide to help understand indoor air in homes, schools and offices.
- Clean Up the Mold video - A fun reminder to clean up mold, a health hazard and an asthma trigger, by the EPA Breathe Easies.
- Does your school have a School Flag Program? - Information about the School Flag Program to help schools improve the health and wellness of students and staff.
- Don't Smoke in the House video - The EPA Breathe Easies help remind us about common asthma triggers in a memorable way.
- Environmental Education Resource Guide - MARC.org overview of programs and resources
- EPA Air Index home page - EPA information on various aspects of air quality
- Funding sources (MARC) - Funding sources, some specific to Kansas City area
- Help fight ozone this summer! - Tips to reduce ozone
- Indoor air quality tips - Creating healthy indoor environments for schools, including IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit.
- KC Bike Month - Car free challenge
- KCEEN - Kansas City Environmental Education Network
- May is Bike Month - - Trailnet.org - St. Louis area
- Missouri Bike Rides and Events - Kansas Cyclist list of bike rides and events
- National Bike to Work Day - Trailnet.org - St. Louis area
- No fume en la casa video - Los EPA Respira fácil ayudan a recordarnos sobre los desencadenantes comunes del asma de una manera notable.
- Open Burning Dangers - Blog regarding the dangers of open burning.
- Ozone - Good up High, Bad Nearby - Ozone information from EPA.
- Ozone season starts April 1 - Blog regarding ozone with information on reducing ozone.
- Ozone - Something you can easily reduce! - Bog with tips on reducing ozone.
- Ozone Workplace Network - Sign up for ozone alerts in the Southwest Missouri area.
- Particle Pollution - General information about particle pollution and air quality from EPA.
- Reducing Ozone - Tips to reduce ozone.
- Resist the urge to squeeze that nozzle - Dangers of topping off your gas tank.
- Soot Pollution - EPA launches voluntary program to help reduce harmful soot pollution.
- St. Louis Regional Clean Air Partnership - St. Louis Air Quality Forecast
- The Shady Side of Trees - Trees are good and bad characters when it comes to air quality.
- What You Can Do to Improve the Air, Fact Sheet--PUB2199 - One person can really make a difference in Missouri’s air quality.
- Why Particulates Matter - Particulate matter is one of the six common air pollutants that may affect your health.
- Burn Season - Information regarding burn season, open burning, including links to fact sheets.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
- Clean Air Act
- Common Air Pollutants - Six common air pollutants, known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards
- The Darker Side of Ozone
- Indoor Air - Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
- Indoor Air Pollution - Information on the normally seen causes of indoor air pollution ranging from smoking to carbon monoxide.
- Indoor Air Quality - EPA information covering many of the concerns that people have about indoor air quality.
- Missouri's Air Quality Monitoring Network
- Tips to save energy and money this winter - Save energy and costs with changes to lighting, thermostats and heating, and energy efficiency. Available in Spanish: Consejos para ahorrar energia durante el invierno.
- Visual Air Pollution, Fact Sheet--PUB2198
- What You Can Do to Improve the Air, Fact Sheet--PUB2199