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The outdoor air quality is affected by air pollution which can cause harm to sensitive populations such as people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and pregnant people. The University has various outdoor events or activities which sensitive populations attend.  Campus groups and departments should consider air quality when planning these outdoor events and determine if precautions should be taken to protect sensitive populations. Consideration should also be given to campus outdoor workers who are included in these sensitive populations.

Air Quality Index (AQI)

Current Air Quality Index
Durham, NC

The Environmental Protection Agency developed the Air Quality Index as an indication of how clean or polluted the outdoor air is, along with associated health effects that may be of concern. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. AQI values at or below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory. When AQI values are above 100, air quality is unhealthy: at first for certain sensitive groups of people, then for everyone as AQI values get higher.

The AQI for this area is displayed on this page. Use the displayed AQI and the table below as a guide for precautions to take for outdoor events or activities.

Air Quality Index (AQI) Description Precautions
Good
(0-50)
Air quality is satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk. None. It’s a great day to be active outside!
Moderate
(51-100)
Air quality is acceptable. However, there may be a risk for some people, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution. Unusually sensitive people should consider making outdoor activities shorter and less intense.  Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
(101-150)
Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects: people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and pregnant people.

The general public is less likely to be affected.

Sensitive groups should make outdoor activities shorter and less intense and take more breaks. Watch for symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath or heart palpitations.
Unhealthy
(151-200)
Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

Some members of the general public may experience health effects.

Sensitive groups should avoid long or intense outdoor activities. Consider rescheduling or moving activities indoors.

General public should reduce long or intense activities and take more breaks during outdoor activities.

Very Unhealthy
(201-300)
Health alert: The risk of health effects is increased for everyone. Sensitive groups should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Reschedule to a time when air quality is better or move activities indoors.

General public should avoid long or intense outdoor activities. Consider rescheduling or moving activities indoors.

Hazardous
(301-500)
Health warning of emergency conditions: everyone is more likely to be affected. Sensitive groups should remain indoors and keep activity levels low.

General public should avoid all physical activity outdoors.

(Source: EPA)
Associated Departments: