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PM2.5 concentration in Anaheim air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Sunday, Feb 18
Good 18 AQI US
|Monday, Feb 19
Good 15 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 20
Good 19 AQI US
Good 10 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 22
Good 23 AQI US
|Friday, Feb 23
Good 31 AQI US
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Good 17 AQI US
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Good 15 AQI US
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Anaheim is a city located in California, within Orange County. It is also part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the second-largest extended urban region within the United States of America. Anaheim itself is home to some 350,000 inhabitants, based on an estimate from 2019. In regards to its air quality, Anaheim has been subject to some poor air quality in years past and continues to come in with fluctuating levels of pollution in more current times, with a varied set of air quality readings present midway through 2021.
In July of 2021, Anaheim presented with a US AQI reading of 31, placing it into the 'good' rating bracket. This is one of the most optimal air quality rating brackets when referring to US AQI levels. Whilst this number can change rapidly as certain polluting events occur, as was shown in late 2020 when wildfires caused massive spikes in pollution throughout the state of California, causing many of the cities to come in amongst America's most polluted ranking positions, Anaheim can also have more optimal qualities of air throughout certain months of the year. With these variances in pollution levels and the danger they bring, individuals should stay up to date with pollution readings to safeguard themselves from the negative side effects that can occur from excessive or prolonged exposure. Certain groups are particularly vulnerable to pollution exposure, with a number of them being discussed in short.
Referring back to the US AQI reading, it is a figure aggregated from the various main pollutants found in the air throughout Anaheim, as well as the rest of California. These include ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), and the two main forms of particle pollution, PM10 and PM2.5.
Out of both of these forms of particles, PM2.5 is the far more deadly of the two, being considered as the most dangerous pollutant that can be found in the atmosphere. It refers to particles that are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, which on occasion can go down to sizes many microns smaller, depending on the material. At a size of 2.5 microns, it is already 30 times smaller than a human hair, and with this minute size comes the ability to bypass the body's defense system, and penetrate deep into the tissue of the lungs. From here it can enter into the bloodstream via the alveoli, the small air sacs responsible for the absorption of oxygen. Once within the bloodstream, a myriad of health effects can occur, ranging from damage to the blood vessels, cancer, heart conditions and many more, which will be discussed in further detail in the following questions.
Observing other readings of US AQI present in Anaheim, throughout June and July were 33, 44 and 46, all of which were still within the 'good' rating bracket. Other ones that came in higher were 53, 55 and 75, placing them in the 'moderate' rating bracket, with 75 pushing the boundary of what is considered safe. During 'good' levels of air quality, outdoor activity is encouraged, as well as leaving windows open to allow fresh air to circulate within the house. Good air quality ratings are color-coded as green, for ease of reference and navigation of the various air quality maps, graphs and forecasts present on this page and throughout the IQAir website. The general public and those with any pre-existing health conditions will be free to conduct their day-to-day activities without the threat or worry of having respiratory irritation take place.
During some of the higher bouts of air pollution, such as the US AQI reading of 75 present in early July, sensitive individuals should start to avoid outdoor activity or strenuous exercise, as there will be a heightened risk for adverse health effects occurring. People who fall into the sensitive groups demographic in Anaheim include individuals such as young children, pregnant women and babies. Those undergoing their vital formative years of early growth are highly susceptible to the damaging effects that pollution exposure can bring. Alterations to the nervous system can occur, leaving people with stunted mental and physical growth. Pregnant mothers who are subject to high levels of pollution exposure may also see their babies born with a low birth weight, prematurely, or having a miscarriage occur, contributing to infant mortality rates. This is indicative of how dangerous fine particles and other chemical pollutants can be, and how exposure reduction should be taken into consideration during bouts of higher pollution.
Other vulnerable groups include those with pre-existing health conditions, particularly of the pulmonary or cardiac variety, as well as those with compromised or weakened immune systems, with the two often going hand in hand. Those with hypersensitivity towards chemicals or fine particles may also find themselves at further risk of triggering old conditions or developing newer ones.
In closing, Anaheim is a city in which the air quality can go from more optimal levels up to ones that carry with them more health risks. During bouts of high pollution, hourly updates can be followed via the IQAir webpage or the AirVisual app, and the appropriate measures practiced accordingly. These include ones such as the wearing of fine particle filtering masks (also available for purchase on-site), closing doors and windows to prevent indoor air pollution levels from rising, as well as avoiding outdoor activities, if possible, as mentioned above. If air purifiers are available, they can also be operated, as they can aid greatly in reducing indoor air pollution levels and thus reducing the harmful effects that pollution exposure can bring.
Air pollution that is present in Anaheim comes from several different sources. These include ones such as the forest fires, in particular referencing the ones that burnt throughout the state of California in 2020, causing massive elevations in pollution levels towards the end of the year. The threat of forest fires is ever-present, and the combustion of vast swathes of forest land and vegetation can lead to huge clouds of smoke, haze and fine particles permeating the atmosphere, able to drift many miles and pollute cities great distances away, causing large spikes in their PM2.5 readings.
Besides these more acute polluting events, there would be other year-round, ambient sources of pollution. These include ones such as vehicle fumes and emissions, and with increasing vehicle ownership both in the United States as well as worldwide, is a continuously growing problem. Although many initiatives have been, and continue to be undertaken to reduce pollution levels given off from cars, motorbikes and other personal vehicles (such as walking and cycling incentives, along with putting more money and development into public transport infrastructure), they are still a major contributor to chemical contaminant buildups, along with particle pollution.
Adding further to vehicular fumes and emissions are larger freight vehicles, which include trucks, lorries and buses, all of which can give off far greater amounts of pollution than smaller vehicles would, per singular unit. These larger ones often utilize diesel fuel, the combustion of which can add further to the emission problem. Furthermore, with the use of all vehicles comes the eventual wear and tear of tire treads, which can throw many tons of microscopic rubber particles into the air, as well as contaminating nearby areas of water or soil, eventually making its way into the food chain.
Other sources of air pollution that are present in Anaheim include the burning of fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, gasoline, natural gas and the aforementioned diesel. Many of these are burnt in factories, power plants and other related industrial sites. Construction sites utilize heavy machinery that runs off of diesel fuel, and these very sites can also leak large amounts of fine particles into the air, being a considerably more prominent source of air pollution than many people are cognizant of, particularly if the construction site is poorly maintained (sand piles not properly covered, dust and cement accumulations not cleaned up or washed away).
Power plants used to supply energy to homes and businesses can go through large amounts of such fossil fuels, in particular coal and natural gas. Demolition sites and road repairs are also significant sources of air pollution, with all of these factors coming together to give the compounded readings seen on record. Much of Anaheim’s yearly pollution is caused by various combustion sources, with the more prominent spikes in PM2.5 indicating that forest fires took place within the state.
The extremely small size of PM2.5, as mentioned, can cause many adverse health effects. The larger PM10 particles are still able to cause health problems, although far less grave in nature. These larger or coarser PM10 particles can irritate exposed mucous membranes such as the eyes, mouth, ears and nose, as well as causing aggravation to respiratory conditions such as asthma. Dry coughs and wheezing can also result from breathing these larger particles, as well symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) manifesting itself.
However, these are far less hazardous than their smaller cousins, and larger particles can be easily removed from the air in comparison, with heavy rainfall aiding in tamping down these larger particles and removing them from the atmosphere. PM2.5 will often linger in the atmosphere despite heavy rain, with only meteorological events such as strong winds aiding in removing them from a certain area.
Further dangers that occur when individuals are over-exposed to PM2.5 include the health issues that fall under the COPD bracket, which includes asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia. Amongst vulnerable individuals, these may turn into terminal conditions if exposure is not drastically lessened, or ceased altogether. As mentioned, PM2.5 can enter into the bloodstream, and from there makes its way into the furthest reaches of the body. Due to the highly dangerous nature of many of the materials that constitute PM2.5, rates of cancer can go up significantly, as well as systemic inflammation.
Observing the air quality levels on record from 2020, it can be seen that Anaheim had many months in which the PM2.5 count rose significantly, both from resulting fires as well as from other polluting sources that were mentioned above. The months of February, July and August all came in with 'good' air quality pollution readings, with figures of 10.3 μg/m³, 10.8 μg/m³ and 10.7 μg/m³ respectively. PM2.5 rankings are based on micrograms per cubic meter, in contrast to the US AQI rating system. A 'good' level of air quality requires a PM2.5 reading of 10 to 12 μg/m³ to be classified as such, giving it a very fine margin of entry.
Other more highly polluted months include January, as well as September through to December, which came in with readings of 14.3 μg/m³, 21 μg/m³, 23.5 μg/m³, 14.3 μg/m³ and 12.3 μg/m³ respectively. This placed October in the most polluted spot of 2020, indicating that the air would be at its most permeated with smoke and clouds and hazardous particles during this time. Due to the mass lockdowns imposed due to the covid-19 outbreak, as well as the prominent forest fires that burnt towards the end of the year, these may not be truly indicative of yearly pollution patterns in Anaheim.
Previous year's readings of yearly PM2.5 averages in Anaheim have come in with varying readings, many of which were less than optimal. In 2020, the yearly average was 12.4 μg/m³, placing the city in 1768th place out of all cities ranked worldwide. This is a fairly poor placing for an American city, with many months of 2020 being skewed by the large amount of smoke that was emitted from the fires throughout the state.
2017 presented with a reading of 13.6 μg/m³, followed by 12 μg/m³ in 2018 and 9.1 μg/m³ in 2019. This made 2019 the cleanest year on record in recent history, being cleaner by a considerable amount than the following year. 9.1 μg/m³ placed Anaheim into the World Health Organization's (WHO's) target goal for the best quality of air at 10 μg/m³ or less.