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The Problem and AQI Explained
The Problem
There are two main types of air pollution that are dangerous to breathe: ground-level ozone and particulate matter. Ground-level ozone peaks in the summer months, from May through October, when temperatures are the highest and sunlight the strongest. Particulate matter is a year-round problem and one of the most dangerous outdoor air pollutants.

Breathing these elements has been linked to health problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and decreased lung function. Those most at risk include older adults, children, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, but even healthy people can be affected by air pollution.

Since 2007, Madison County has met federal standards for ozone and particulate matter. These standards are set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To help the public become more aware about air quality and its effects, the EPA has developed tools like the Air Quality Index and Air Quality Action Day Alerts.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a tool developed by the US EPA for reporting daily air quality. The AQI tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The US EPA has assigned a specific color to each AQI category to make it easy to understand quickly whether air pollution is reaching unhealthy levels in your community.
AQI Index
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