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Washington Air Quality Advisory

We created the Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA) information tool to advise you about air quality levels. When there is too much fine particle pollution in the air, your health could be at risk. The WAQA bases its advice on lower levels of fine particles than the Environmental Protection Agency's national information tool, the Air Quality Index (AQI). This allows us to alert you earlier about air pollution levels.

What the WAQA is used for

The WAQA advises you according to measurements of:

WAQA vs. AQI

EPA uses its own air quality reporting system called the Air Quality Index (AQI). Both use color-coded categories to show when air quality is good, moderate, or unhealthy. The difference is that the state's WAQA is based on lower levels of fine particle pollution than the federal AQI. This allows us to alert you earlier to protect your health.

Studies show that levels of particles in the air that we previously thought were safe can cause illness and death. Some examples of fine particles are smoke and dust.

English

WAQA Table

 

Air Pollution Category

Meaning

Precautions to Take

As symbolized by the color:
Good Air pollution is minimal and there is little health risk. None. Green

Moderate

People with:

  • Asthma.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Diabetes.
  • Heart or lung disease.
  • Those who have had a stroke.

These people may begin to have breathing problems.

People with:

  • Asthma.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Diabetes.
  • Heart or lung disease.
  • Those who have had a stroke.

These people should limit outdoor activities or do activities that take less effort, such as walking instead of running.

Yellow
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups More people than average may have breathing problems or have worsened symptoms of existing asthma or lung disease.

Sensitive groups include:

  • People with heart or lung disease.
  • Asthma.
  • Diabetes.
  • Infants and children.
  • Adults older than 65.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Those who have had a stroke.

These people should limit time spent outdoors.

Orange
Unhealthy
 
Many more people than average may have breathing problems or have worsened symptoms of existing lung or heart disease. Everyone, especially sensitive groups, should:
  • Limit time spent outdoors.
  • Avoid exercising outdoors (including sports teams).
  • Choose non-strenuous indoor activities.
Red
Very Unhealthy

Some healthy people may have breathing problems.

People with asthma, lung and heart disease have an increased risk of symptoms or worsening of their disease.

Studies show that hospitalizations increase by 50 percent for people with lung diseases.

Everyone should:

  • Stay indoors. Do only light indoor activities. Keep windows closed if it is not too hot.
  • Run air conditioners on re-circulate. Close the outside air intake.
  • Use indoor air cleaners with HEPA filters, if available.
  • Wear an N-95 respirator mask, if you must be outdoors. People with chronic diseases should check with their health care provider before wearing a mask.

People with asthma, lung and heart disease, or have had a stroke should check with their health care provider for advice about leaving the area.

Anyone with shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, or difficulty moving or speaking should call their health care provider or call 911.

Purple
Hazardous

More healthy people are likely to have breathing problems.

The people most susceptible are:

  • People with heart or lung disease.
  • Asthma.
  • Diabetes.
  • Infants and children.
  • Adults older than 65.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Those who have had a stroke.

Studies suggest more people with asthma, lung or heart disease need medical attention.

Everyone should:

  • Say indoors. Do only light activities. Keep windows closed if it is not too hot.
  • Run air conditioners on re-circulate. Close the outside air intake.
  • Use indoor air cleaners with HEPA filters, if available.
  • Wear an N-95 respirator mask, if you must be outdoors. People with chronic diseases should check with their health care provider before wearing a mask.

Check with your local health department for health information.

People with asthma, heart or lung disease, or have had a stroke should check with their health care provider for advice about leaving the area.

Anyone with shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, or difficulty moving or speaking should call their health care provider or call 911.

Dark red

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