Chapter 4: Your Air

You should pay close attention to air quality levels if you are an older adult, have children in your home, or if you or a family member have lung or heart disease.
You should pay close attention to air quality levels if you are an older adult, have children in your home, or if you or a family member have lung or heart disease.

Air is crucial to life; we humans breathe in and out an average of 12 times per minute! And when we inhale, we breathe in everything that floats around in the air, including tiny particles we can’t see. When pollution is released into the air from sources including power plants, factories, and automobiles, we inhale that as well. Polluted air can cause a range of human health impacts from minor allergies to serious respiratory problems, so it is important to keep our air as clean as we can and to take steps to reduce our exposure risks.

4.1 Air Quality

4.2 Toxic Air Pollution

4.3 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Key Points 

  • Thirty-four air-quality sampling stations throughout the state regularly monitor the air for the six most dangerous pollutants, called the criteria air pollutants.
  • In addition to the criteria pollutants, EPA requires regulation of 189 other toxic air pollutants (TAPs).
  • The Air Quality Index is a measure of the six criteria pollutants and sets a scale for the predicted air quality for each day.
  • Sensitive groups should be more aware of the air quality each day and limit outdoor activity.
  • Greenhouse gases (GHGs) heat up the atmosphere and contribute to global warming, which can lead to more extreme weather patterns.
  • Louisiana is one of the most vulnerable areas in the world to the damaging effects of climate-related sea-level rise and extreme weather events.

Be Involved

  • Be informed about air quality and those around you who may be in a sensitive group
  • Sign up for air quality alerts so you know when there is an air quality action day
  • Reduce emissions from small engines such as lawn mowers and use fuel efficient vehicles when possible

Chapter References