This indicator measures air pollutant levels, such as carbon monoxide and ozone, collected by the City of Albuquerque's Environmental Health Department.
This indicator is part of Safe air, land and water.
The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department collects and maintains records for historic air pollutant levels throughout Bernalillo County, including carbon monoxide, ozone, particulate matter (PM-10 (microns), i.e. dust; and also PM-2.5, fine particulates), and nitrogen oxides. Air is monitored at ten sites. Eight sites measure ozone, six measure carbon monoxide; two sites measure nitrogen oxides which are precursors to ozone; seven sites measure PM-10; and there are four PM-2.5 monitoring sites. Air quality standards are designed by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to achieve air quality that protects human health, animal and plant life, visibility, and the use of property.
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Why is this indicator relevant?
High levels of air pollution contribute to human health problems and negatively impact a community’s quality of life. People with heart and lung disease, children with asthma, and seniors are exceptionally vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. Exposure to carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and particle pollution has been linked to heart disease, lung cancer and asthma attacks, shortening lives. While everyone can be affected by ozone smog, children, teens, people over 65, individuals working or exercising outdoors, and people with existing lung diseases are especially vulnerable.
What can we tell from the data?
- On March 12, 2008 EPA revised its Air Quality Index for ozone to 0.075 parts per million (ppm), previously set at 0.084 ppm in 1997. Bernalillo County continues to meet the standard.
- During the 1970s and 1980s, the carbon monoxide (CO) standard was consistently violated. Albuquerque's air contaminant levels have not violated state and federal standards since 1991.
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