Air

The Environmental Protection Agency manages the national ambient air quality monitoring network. We also measure the levels of a number of atmospheric pollutants. The pollutants of most concern are those whose main source is traffic such as Particulate Matter and Nitrogen Dioxide.

How does air pollution affect us?

Most healthy people do not feel any different if the air quality is worse than usual for a short time. However, some people do find that air pollution affects their health and wellbeing.

When air pollution is higher than usual, people who already have heart or lung problems are more likely to become unwell and need treatment. They should take their doctor’s advice.

Older people are more likely to suffer from heart and lung problems than young people, so it makes good sense for them to be aware of the air quality.

Children (as long as they are well) usually need not stay away from school or avoid taking part in games, because of air pollution. Children with asthma should make sure they have their usual medicines with them on days when levels of air pollution are higher than usual.

If air pollution reaches “very high” levels, even some healthy people may get a sore or dry throat, sore eyes or perhaps a tickly cough.

However, different people are affected in different ways. Some people are very sensitive to air pollution and find that even low levels of pollution affect their wellbeing. So, anyone who has asthma or any other health problem that may make them sensitive to pollution should take the advice of their doctor.

For up-to-date information on your air quality go to airquality.ie

Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH)

The Air Quality Index for Health is derived as follows:

BandIndexOzone (µg/m³)
8 HOUR MEAN
Nitrogen Dioxide (µg/m³)
1 HOUR MEAN
Sulphur Dioxide (µg/m³)
1 HOUR MEAN
PM2.5 (µg/m³)
24 HOUR MEAN
PM10 (µg/m³)
24 HOUR MEAN
Good 1 0 - 33 0 - 67 0 - 29 0 - 11 0 - 16
2 34 - 66 68 - 134 30 - 59 12 - 23 17 - 33
3 67 - 100 135 - 200 60 - 89 24 - 35 34 - 50
Fair 4 101 - 120 201 - 267 90 - 119 36 - 41 51 - 58
5 121 - 140 268 - 334 120 - 149 42 - 47 59 - 66
6 141 - 160 335 - 400 150 - 179 48 - 53 67 - 75
Poor 7 161 - 187 401 - 467 180 - 236 54 - 58 76 - 83
8 188 - 213 468 - 534 237 - 295 59 - 64 84 - 91
9 214 - 240 535 - 600 296 - 354 65 - 70 92 - 100
Very Poor 10 241 or more 601 or more 355 or more 71 or more 101 or more

Health Advice

The health advice associated with the Air Quality Index For Health is as follows:

BandIndexHealth Advice for General PopulationHealth Advice for At-Risk Groups
Good 1 Enjoy your usual outdoor activities. Enjoy your usual outdoor activities.
2
3
Fair 4 Enjoy your usual outdoor activities. Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, who experience symptoms, should consider reducing strenuous physical activity, particularly outdoors.
5
6
Poor 7 Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors.

Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical activity, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms.

People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion.

8
9
Very Poor 10 Reduce physical exertion, particularly outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as cough or sore throat.

Adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems, and older people, should avoid strenuous physical activity.

People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often.