Exploring Air Quality


Texas AQI map

The quality of the air we breathe affects our health and can impact our daily activities. When we breathe, any pollution in the air enters our lungs and our bloodstream. Sometimes this can cause minor issues, like coughing or itchy eyes, but when the amount of pollutants in the air is high over extended periods of time, breathing in these pollutants can cause more serious health complications.

Measuring the quality of the air we breathe has become a necessity for public health. PurpleAir is a company that provides real-time air quality monitoring by collecting data from a community of citizen scientists who place sensors around the world. Explore the data from PurpleAir by selecting “View the Map” on their website. On the map, each circle represents an individual air-quality sensor — select any sensor to see the data that is collected. You can also move around the map to look at your local community or another region. As you explore, consider these questions:

  • How many sensors are in your community? How many sensors are there around the world?
  • How is the air quality in your community today?
  • What information is available for each sensor?
  • How is air quality measured? What is a healthy rating for air quality?
  • What questions does the information you are exploring raise?

EPA Air Quality Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency standards for Particle Pollution can be found here. This chart summarizes the ratings.

EPA Air Quality Standards


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