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EPA Launches Air Quality Index


On 15th April 2013 the EPA launched a new on-line service which will allow users access to information on air quality in their area. The Air Quality Index for Health is calculated hourly and is represented on a colour coded map of Ireland. The intention is that the public, and especially those with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, will have access to information which will be updated on an hourly basis.

The AQIH is based on measurements of five air pollutants all of which can harm health. The five pollutants are: 

  • Ozone gas;
  • Nitrogen dioxide gas;
  • Sulphur dioxide gas;
  • PM2.5 particles;
  • PM10 particles.

The above parameters are reportedly monitored on an hourly basis and the worst of the five results will be used to indicate current air quality on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being Good and 10 being Very Poor.

The country is then divided into 6 regions for the purposes of reporting. These are:

  • Dublin City;
  • Cork City;
  • Towns with populations > 15,000;
  • Towns with populations > 5,000 and < 15,000;
  • Rural West ;
  • Rural East.

Advice is given regarding the precautions vulnerable people should take when air quality reaches particular levels in their area. Overall this is a good service from the EPA and will provide people with the information to make informed decisions, which is always a good thing. However, particularly for asthma sufferers, the most significant health impact parameter between April and October each year is the pollen count. A map combining the information from the EPA and a pollen count would be very useful indeed.

The EPA’s Air Quality Index for Health Map can be accessed here