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The health effects of air pollution

How to use the Daily Air Quality Index

  • Step 1: Determine whether you (or your children) are likely to be at-risk from air pollution. Information on groups who may be affected is provided on the Additional information on the short-term effects of air pollution page on the Defra UK-AIR website. Your doctor may also be able to give you advice.
  • Step 2: If you may be at-risk, and are planning strenuous activity outdoors, check the air pollution forecast.
  • Step 3: Use the health messages corresponding to the highest forecast level of pollution as a guide.
The Air Pollution Bandings and Index Points
Air Pollution Banding Value Accompanying health messages for at-risk groups and the general population
At-risk individuals* General population
Low 1-3 Enjoy your usual outdoor activities. Enjoy your usual outdoor activities.
Moderate 4-6 Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, who experience symptoms, should consider reducing strenuous physical activity, particularly outdoors. Enjoy your usual outdoor activities.
High 7-9 Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, 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. Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors.
Very High 10 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. Reduce physical exertion, particularly outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as cough or sore throat.

* Adults and children with heart or lung problems are at greater risk of symptoms. Follow your doctor's usual advice about exercising and managing your condition. It is possible that very sensitive individuals may experience health effects even on Low air pollution days. Anyone experiencing symptoms should follow the guidance Additional information on the short-term effects of air pollution provided on the Defra UK-AIR website.


Boundaries Between Index Points for Each Pollutant

The table below shows the boundaries between each index points for common pollutants measured. For more further details about this information, please visit the standards information on the on the Defra UK-AIR website (opens in new window).

Band Index Black Carbon (BC) Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) Ozone (O3) PM10 Particulate matter (PM10) PM2.5 Particulate matter (PM2.5) Sulphur dioxide (SO2) Total Particulates (TSP)
Hourly mean Running 8-hourly mean Based on the daily mean concentration for historical data, latest 24 hour running mean for the current day Based on the daily mean concentration for historical data, latest 24 hour running mean for the current day 15 minute mean
µg/m3 µg/m3 µg/m3 µg/m3 µg/m3 µg/m3 µg/m3
Low 1 0 - 0 0 - 67 0 - 33 0 - 16 0 - 11 0 - 88 0 - 0
Low 2 0 - 0 68 - 134 34 - 66 17 - 33 12 - 23 89 - 177 0 - 0
Low 3 0 - 0 135 - 200 67 - 100 34 - 50 24 - 35 178 - 266 0 - 0
Moderate 4 0 - 0 201 - 267 101 - 120 51 - 58 36 - 41 267 - 354 0 - 0
Moderate 5 0 - 0 268 - 334 121 - 140 59 - 66 42 - 47 355 - 443 0 - 0
Moderate 6 0 - 0 335 - 400 141 - 160 67 - 75 48 - 53 444 - 532 0 - 0
High 7 0 - 0 401 - 467 161 - 187 76 - 83 54 - 58 533 - 710 0 - 0
High 8 0 - 0 468 - 534 188 - 213 84 - 91 59 - 64 711 - 887 0 - 0
High 9 0 - 0 535 - 600 214 - 240 92 - 100 65 - 70 888 - 1064 0 - 0
Very High 10 0 - 0 601 or higher 241 or higher 101 or higher 71 or higher 1065 or higher 0 - 0




Monitoring Site Environments

The table below shows the typical types of environmental that air pollution monitoring stations are located. A brief description for each one is provided.

Location Type Description
Rural An open countryside location, in an area of low population density distanced as far as possible from roads, populated and industrial areas.
Kerbside A site sampling within 1m of the kerb of a busy road.
Remote A site in open country, located in an isolated rural area, experiencing regional background pollutant concentrations for much of the time.
Roadside A site sampling between 1m of the kerbside of a busy road and the back of the pavement. Typically this will be within 5m of the road, but could be up to 15m.
Suburban A location type situated in a residential area on the outskirts of a town or city.
Urban Background An urban location distanced from sources and therefore broadly representative of city-wide background conditions e.g. urban residential areas.
Urban Centre An urban location representative of typical population exposure in towns or city centres e.g. pedestrian precincts and shopping areas.
Urban Industrial An area where industrial sources make an important contribution to the total pollution burden. Intermediate. 20-30m from the kerb of a busy road.
Intermediate 20-30m from the kerb of a busy road
Airport Monitoring within the boundary of an airport perimeter.
Other Any special source-orientated or location category covering monitoring undertaken in relation to specific emission sources such as power stations, car parks or tunnels.


Active Monitoring Stations

The active monitoring sites in the South Holland area are listed below. Click on a site name to view more information.
Spalding Monkshouse School
Westmere school

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