Air pollution is the result of many sources of very small pieces of dust, gases, and particles called “particular matter” that cause a reduction in visibility and negatively affect the health of humans and animals. It also contributes to climate change.

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is “any contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.” Some of the most common components of air pollution are particulate matter, ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Air quality is measured using advanced scientific equipment that collects air samples and analyses them based on what’s floating in the air. These air quality reports can be compared to an “Air Quality Index” (AQI) that rates how good or bad the air are based on what’s in it.

Today, international benchmarks for what is healthy or unhealthy for us to breathe. Modern measurements range from Good to Moderate, Unhealthy, and Hazardous. Understanding these measurements and benchmarks can help you decide how to protect yourself and your family, as well as make you more aware of the air you breathe.