DEEP: AQI Health Effects Statements

Pollutant-Specific Health Effects Statements
for the Air Quality Index (AQI)

AQI
Category
Ozone
(O3)
Fine Particles
(PM2.5)

Carbon Monoxide
(CO) 

Sulfur Dioxide
(SO2)

Good None None None None
Moderate Unusually sensitive individuals may experience respiratory symptoms. None None None
Unhealthy for
Sensitive Groups
Increasing likelihood of respiratory symptoms and breathing discomfort in active children and adults with respiratory disease, such as asthma. Increasing likelihood of respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals, aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly. Increasing likelihood of reduced exercise tolerance due to increased cardiovascular symptoms, such as chest pain, in people with cardiovascular disease. Increasing likelihood of respiratory symptoms, such as chest tightness and breathing discomfort, in people with asthma.
Unhealthy Greater likelihood of respiratory symptoms and breathing difficulty in active children and adults and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma; possible respiratory effects in general population. Increased aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; increased respiratory effects in general population. Reduced exercise tolerance due to increased cardiovascular symptoms, such as chest pain, in people with cardiovascular disease. Increased respiratory symptoms, such as chest tightness and wheezing in people with asthma; possible aggravation of heart or lung disease.
Very Unhealthy Increasingly severe symptoms and impaired breathing likely in active children and adults and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma; increasing likelihood of respiratory effects in general population. Significant aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; significant increase in respiratory effects in general population. Significant aggravation of cardiovascular symptoms, such as chest pain, in people with cardiovascular disease. Significant increase in respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath, in people with asthma; aggravation of heart or lung disease.
Hazardous Severe respiratory effects and impaired breathing likely in active children and adults and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma; increasingly severe respiratory effects likely in general population. Serious aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; serious risk of respiratory effects in general population. Serious aggravation of cardiovascular symptoms, such as chest pain, in people with cardiovascular disease; impairment of strenuous activities in general population. Severe respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath, in people with asthma; increased aggravation of heart or lung disease; possible respiratory effects in general population.

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Content last updated on June 7, 2011