EPA Launches New Daily Air-Quality Forecasts

If terror threat alerts aren’t your thing, maybe you’ll be more excited about the U.S. government’s newest color-coded warning system — for air quality. Starting tomorrow, the U.S. EPA will provide daily forecasts on expected levels of particulate pollution, or soot, in 141 cities. Airborne particulates contribute to heart problems, lung cancer, and asthma. The alerts grew out of a program that already offers predictions on ozone pollution, commonly know as smog, for 300 cities during the summer months. “We want the air-quality forecast to be like the weather forecast — something that people check every day of the year,” says Chet Wayland of the EPA. The agency hopes that people who see the forecasts will take steps to limit their exposure on poor air-quality days, for example by avoiding exertion outdoors, and will make an effort to help the situation by driving less.