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Key Indicators for Understanding Our Region

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page html_indicator.xsl Current_PM2_5_Levels_Western_Pennsylvania

Environment / PM2.5

PM 2.5 refers to airborne particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. These microscopic particles can consist of several chemical compounds and are created by combustion sources, such as coal-fired power plants, steel and coke works and motor vehicles. PM 2.5 can travel deep into the lungs and studies have reported long- and short-term exposure to be associated with serious health conditions, including respiratory ailments and cardiovascular disease. Concentrations of PM 2.5 typically are not uniform across a region and can be affected by weather, topography, local and upwind emissions sources and other factors.

Current Air Quality - Western Pennsylvania


This map from the EPA AirNow website shows the hourly PM2.5 levels at the subset of monitoring locations that report continously on a daily basis. The colors show PM2.5 levels based on the EPA's Air Quality Index. Green means ‘Good’, Yellow means ‘Moderate’, Orange means ‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups’ and Red means ‘Unhealthy’. For more information, visit the EPA's AIRNow website.