Air pollutants impact the public’s health and can be particularly harmful to the very young, the very old, and those with certain preexisting medical conditions. Air pollutants can cause breathing difficulties, asthma, lung damage, bronchitis, cancer, and brain and nervous system damage. Air pollutants also can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and reduce resistance to colds and other illnesses.
The California Air Resources Board, in cooperation with the Imperial Valley Air Pollution Control District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has set up a website to provide current conditions of air quality in the Imperial Valley. Data are collected from monitoring stations in Calexico, El Centro, Brawley, Westmorland, and Niland. The information is reported using an Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is an indicator developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to report air quality and to help the public understand what it means for their health
The AQI uses a scale from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value is, the greater the level of pollution and the greater the health concern. An AQI value of 100 generally corresponds to the national ambient air quality standard set for each pollutant to protect public health. AQI values below 100 are generally considered to be satisfactory, and values above 100 represent unhealthy air pollution levels — at first for members of sensitive populations, then for everyone as AQI values go above 150.
Interested individuals can sign up to be notified when air quality in the Imperial Valley reaches unhealthy levels. This service is free, and notifications can be made via e-mail, text pager, or digital cellular phone. To register to receive air quality alerts, go to: http://www.imperialvalleyair.org/airalert.cfm