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Protocol - Air Quality Index

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Description

This protocol is based on extracting air quality data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) AirData Air Quality Index Summary Report. This report displays an annual summary of Air Quality Index (AQI) values for states, counties or cities (defined by core-based statistical areas [CBSAs]). The AQI is determined using measured concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Standard EPA formulas convert the measured pollutant concentrations to an AQI value between 0 and 500. AQI values are associated with risk categories (e.g., good, moderate, unhealthy). The pollutant with the highest AQI is reported as the overall AQI value for the day. Each row of the AQI Summary Report lists several qualitative measures (e.g., days with "good" air quality) and descriptive statistics (e.g., median AQI value) for 1 year for one county or CBSA.

Specific Instructions

None

Protocol

US Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Index Report

The US Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Index Report (https://www.epa.gov/outdoor-air-quality-data/about-air-data-reports#aqi) includes the annual summary of AQI values for counties or core based statistical areas (CBSA). The report includes the following columns.

# Days with AQI

Number of days in the year having an Air Quality Index value. This is the number of days on which measurements from any monitoring site in the county or MSA were reported to the Air Quality System (AQS) database.

# Days Good

Number of days in the year having an AQI value 0 through 50.

# Days Moderate

Number of days in the year having an AQI value 51 through 100.

# Days Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

Number of days in the year having an AQI value 101 through 150.

# Days Unhealthy

Number of days in the year having an AQI value 151 through 200.

# Days Very Unhealthy

Number of days in the year having an AQI value 201 or higher. This includes the AQI categories very unhealthy and hazardous. Very few locations (about 0.3% of counties) have any days in the very unhealthy or hazardous categories.

AQI Max

The highest daily AQI value in the year.

AQI 90th %ile

90 percent of daily AQI values during the year were less than or equal to the 90th percentile value.

AQI Median

Half of daily AQI values during the year were less than or equal to the median value, and half equaled or exceeded it.

# Days CO

# Days NO2

# Days O3

# Days SO2

# Days PM2.5

# Days PM10

A daily index value is calculated for each air pollutant measured. The highest of those index values is the AQI value, and the pollutant responsible for the highest index value is the "Main Pollutant." These columns give the number of days each pollutant measured was the main pollutant. A blank column indicates a pollutant not measured in the county or CBSA.

US EPA Air Quality Index Ranges and Associated Categories

Range

Category

0-50

Good

51-100

Moderate

101-150

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

151-200

Unhealthy

201-300

Very Unhealthy

301-500

Hazardous

Availability

Available

Personnel and Training Required

None

Equipment Needs

None

Requirements
Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Secondary Data Analysis

Lifestage

Infant, Toddler, Child, Adolescent, Adult, Senior, Pregnancy

Participants

Not applicable; derived from publicly available data

Selection Rationale

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Air Quality Index (AQI) is a standard, widely used measure that includes six National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) pollutants. It has been maintained by the federal government for decades and is reported on a daily basis by ZIP Code.

Language

English

Standards
StandardNameIDSource
caDSR Common Data Elements (CDE) Social Determinants of Health EPA Air Quality Index Assessment Score 7263162 CDE Browser
Derived Variables

None

Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel has not reviewed this measure yet.

Protocol Name from Source

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Air Quality Index (AQI)

Source

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). AirData. Retrieved from

https://www.epa.gov/outdoor-air-quality-data/about-air-data-reports#aqi

General References

AirNow. (2019). Air Quality Index (AQI) basics. Retrieved from https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi

Kumari, S., & Jain, M. K. (2018). A critical review on Air Quality Index. In V. Singh, S. Yadav, & R. Yadava (Eds.), Environmental pollution. Water Science and Technology Library (vol. 77). Springer.

Rice, M. B., Ljungman, P. L., Wilker, E. H., Gold, D. R., Schwartz, J. D., Koutrakis, P., … Mittleman, M. A. (2013). Short-term exposure to air pollution and lung function in the Framingham Heart Study. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 188(11), 1351–1357.

Talbot, T. O., Haley, V. B., Dimmick, W. F., Paulu, C., Talbott, E. O., & Rager, J. (2009). Developing consistent data and methods to measure the public health impacts of ambient air quality for Environmental Public Health Tracking: Progress to date and future directions. Air Quality, Atmosphere, & Health, 2(4), 199–206.

Thach, T. Q., Tsang, H., Cao, P., & Ho, L. M. (2018). A novel method to construct an air quality index based on air pollution profiles. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 221(1), 17–26.

Wellenius, G. A., Burger, M. R., Coull, B. A., Schwartz, J., Suh, H. H., Koutrakis, P., … Mittleman, M. A. (2012). Ambient air pollution and the risk of acute ischemic stroke. Archives of Internal Medicine, 172(3), 229–234.

Protocol ID

290101

Variables
Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_AQI_90_Percentile_Value
PX290101080000 AQI 90th %ile - 90 percent of daily AQI more
values during the year were less than or equal to the 90th percentile value. show less
N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_AQI_Max_Value
PX290101070000 AQI Max - The highest daily AQI value in the year. N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_AQI_Median_Value
PX290101090000 AQI Median - Half of daily AQI values during more
the year were less than or equal to the median value, and half equaled or exceeded it. show less
N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_AQI
PX290101010000 # Days with AQI - Number of days in the year more
having an Air Quality Index value. This is the number of days on which measurements from any monitoring site in the county or MSA were reported to the Air Quality System (AQS) database. show less
N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_AQI_Good
PX290101020000 # Days Good - Number of days in the year more
having an AQI value 0 through 50. show less
N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_AQI_Moderate
PX290101030000 # Days Moderate - Number of days in the year more
having an AQI value 51 through 100. show less
N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_AQI_Unhealthy
PX290101050000 # Days Unhealthy - Number of days in the more
year having an AQI value 151 through 200. show less
N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_AQI_Unhealthy_Sensitive_Groups
PX290101040000 # Days Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups - more
Number of days in the year having an AQI value 101 through 150. show less
N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_AQI_Very_Unhealthy
PX290101060000 # Days Very Unhealthy - Number of days in more
the year having an AQI value 201 or higher. This includes the AQI categories very unhealthy and hazardous. Very few locations (about 0.3% of counties) have any days in the very unhealthy or hazardous categori show less
N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_CO
PX290101100000 # Days CO N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_NO2
PX290101110000 # Days NO2 N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_O3
PX290101120000 # Days O3 N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_PM10
PX290101150000 # Days PM10 N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_PM2
PX290101140000 # Days PM2.5 N/A
PX290101_Air_Quality_Index_Days_SO2
PX290101130000 # Days SO2 N/A
Social Determinants of Health
Measure Name

Air Quality Index

Release Date

May 11, 2020

Definition

The Air Quality Index is a location-based estimation of air pollution that can be used as a proxy for exposure (i.e., exposure risk) to air pollution.

Purpose

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Index includes several air pollutants that have been shown to cause respiratory disease and adverse pulmonary effects (e.g., decreased lung function, chronic bronchitis, asthma) and have been linked to cardiovascular disease (e.g., stroke onset). Additionally, long-term exposure to fine particulate matter increases premature death risk among people aged 65 or older, even when exposure is at levels below the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Keywords

Air Quality Index, AQI, Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Index

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
290101 Air Quality Index
Publications

There are no publications listed for this protocol.