|4||La Pine, Oregon|
|6||Beech Grove, Indiana|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
8:00, Oct 5
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 42 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Talent is currently 2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Saturday, Oct 1|
Good 32 US AQI
|Sunday, Oct 2|
Good 34 US AQI
|Monday, Oct 3|
Good 44 US AQI
|Tuesday, Oct 4|
Good 36 US AQI
Good 42 US AQI
|Thursday, Oct 6|
Good 40 US AQI
|Friday, Oct 7|
Good 45 US AQI
|Saturday, Oct 8|
Good 35 US AQI
|Sunday, Oct 9|
Good 40 US AQI
|Monday, Oct 10|
Good 48 US AQI
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Talent is a small city in Jackson County, Oregon. According to a census conducted in 2010, the population was approximately 6,100 people. It is situated towards the southern end of Rogue River Valley near the Siskiyou Mountains and not far from the state border with California.
During August 2021, Talent was experiencing a period of “Very unhealthy” air with a US AQI reading of 286. This United States Air Quality Index number is calculated using the levels of six of the most prolific air pollutants, which are nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and both sizes of particulate matter, being PM2.5 and PM10. It can be used as a standard when comparing air quality in other cities around the world. If data is unavailable for all 6 pollutants, a figure can still be calculated by using what figures there are. In the case of Talent, only the PM2.5 figure was available which was 236.1 µg/m³. This is quoted in micrograms/microns per cubic meter. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a recommended level of 10 µg/m³ or less, so it can be seen that in Talent, the figure was over 23 times the suggested limit. Although no amount of air pollution can be considered as being safe.
With pollution at this level, the given advice would be to stay indoors and close all doors and windows to prevent the ingress of more polluted air. An air purifier would be beneficial if one is available, but make sure it is set to recirculate the air and not draw more in from outside. Avoid exercising outside until the quality improves and if venturing outside is unavoidable, then wearing a good quality face mask is essential. The table that is published at the top of this page should help with that decision or download the AirVisual app for constant updates as to the state of the air in real-time.
Air quality can be very volatile and changes very quickly depending on the atmospheric conditions at any given moment.
Looking at the chart issued by IQAir, it looks as though Talent will continue to suffer from poor quality air for at least the next few days. The wind speed is set to drop slightly and with it, the air quality looks as though it will improve. This suggests that the poor quality air is being blown into Talent from elsewhere.
There does not appear to be a dedicated air monitoring station in Talent from which to obtain previous figures and readings. However, if the published table for the state of Oregon is studied, it can be seen that September is the worst month for air quality in the top 50 cities within the state. It would indicate that this month is when the worst of the wildfires are burning and producing these large spikes of polluted air.
Nearly all cities have readings from the “Unhealthy” bracket with figures between 55.5 and 150.4 µg/m³.
Through generalization, the first 8 months of the year seem to achieve the target figure of 10 µg/m³ or less which is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Although no amount of air pollution, however small, can be looked at as being safe.
The top 29 cities in Oregon registered “Moderate” air quality as an average reading for 2020. These figures should come as no surprise because of the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many vehicles were temporarily unused as their drivers were not required to work from the office, instead, they were furloughed and were encouraged to work from home. This had the effect of drastically reducing pollution in the city center, due to the reduced numbers of vehicles on the roads. Many small factories and non-essential production units were also closed which again lead to an improvement in air quality.
Like most major cities from any continent, passenger vehicles are a major pollution contributor, producing significant amounts of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and other pollution. In 2013, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air. These emissions, including microscopic particles, can contribute to breathing and heart problems along with an elevated risk of cancer.
After World War II, economic growth, population growth, rapid suburbanization, and the closing of some public transit systems led to more reliance on personal vehicles for transportation. The number of cars and trucks in the United States increased dramatically, as did the number of highways.
Over forty years of clean air policies have improved air quality and improved the health of Americans, and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has set and instigated emissions standards to control pollution from everything from passenger vehicles, heavy-duty trucks and buses, construction and farm equipment, locomotive and marine engine, and even lawn and garden equipment. These standards are a critical part of the progress and improved air quality we have achieved despite the increased economic activity and more miles traveled on average per person.
Compared to 1970 vehicle models, new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks are roughly 99 percent cleaner for common pollutants (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particle emissions).
Other sources include fossil fuel-based energy production, wood-burning, construction, manufacturing, industry and wildfires. Although, when wildfires are burning they create a huge spike in air pollution they are not prevalent throughout the year so their pollution is seasonal.
Wildfires are threatening homes on the West Coast and in Canada, but their smoke is polluting air as far away as New York. The largest fire burning at the moment is Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, which has burned more than 400,000 acres which equates to an area nine times the size of Washington, D.C., where air quality alerts were also issued. Hazy skies reached from Boston to North Carolina. The far-flung impacts highlight that this is no longer just a problem for states like California and Oregon, where wildfires have been more common. Research published last January shows that, during a large fire event, wildfire smoke can account for as much as 25 percent of dangerous air pollution in the U.S.
Each plume of smoke resulting from a wildfire is a unique mixture, from the types of trees burned to the contents of buildings or other objects that may have been incinerated by the blaze. And about 80 percent of the smoke is made of fine particulate matter composed of solid and liquid droplets from burned material, often referred to as PM2.5.
For the more than seven million people in California’s Bay Area living through historic wildfires, it’s been hard to breathe for the past month, so much so that the region has been under an alert, which means inhaling outdoor air presents a health hazard. Air quality is even worse in Oregon and Washington, and it was noticed that smoke had stretched to the East Coast and even as far as Europe, carried by the Jet Stream.
Wildfire smoke contains a variety of gases and particles from the materials that fuel the fire, including ozone, carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic compounds, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter which are all pollutants linked to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. Much of the content remains unknown as it depends on the substances which were burnt.
People were once exposed once or twice in a lifetime, but now it’s happening every summer and for longer periods. When a healthy person breathes in air that is contaminated with smoke from wildfires, their eyes may start to sting, and when they cough, they may have trouble recovering their breath. And they may cough a lot more often. But what happens to that same individual when they breathe smoky air for extended periods every year is still unclear. Wildfire smoke in itself is an unknown quantity in that it differs depending on what was burnt to produce the smoke. It has many different gases in it, and the composition of those small particles can be highly variable, depending on what’s burning and how hot it’s burning.
PM2.5 particles, and ones even smaller, are capable of penetrating deep into a person’s lungs. They can bypass the body’s natural defense system because of their microscopic size where they enter the respiratory tracts and pass deeply into the lowest part of the bronchial system, the alveoli. From here, they can pass through the cell walls and enter the bloodstream where they travel around the body and potentially affect every organ they pass through. The body tries to respond by releasing the same immune cells it would use to attack a virus. But unlike a virus, however, particulate matter isn’t broken down by that immune response and results in long-lasting inflammation. That inflammation can affect your lungs, kidneys, liver, and possibly your brain.
According to the WHO, suspended particles affect more people than any other pollutant and their main components are sulfates, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, coal, mineral dust and water. Particles are classified according to their diameter into PM10 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 microns) and PM2.5 (aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 microns). The latter are the most dangerous because when inhaled, they can reach the bronchioles and alter the pulmonary exchange of gases, causing respiratory diseases, and even cancer.
Many variables intervene in the distribution of this pollution, such as wind, temperature variations, the amount of solar radiation and rain. And although air pollution is not exclusive to large cities, it is there where the greatest pollution is concentrated and, therefore, where there are the greatest effects on health.
The main effects of air pollution range from alterations in lung function, heart problems and other symptoms, to annoyances that cause an increase in the number of deaths, hospital admissions and visits to the doctor’s surgery. Although there are more susceptible population groups such as children, the elderly, pregnant women or people with respiratory or heart diseases, the entire population is at risk of suffering these affectations to a greater or lesser degree.
In addition to the most serious pathologies, poor air quality can also cause ailments as diverse as fatigue, headaches and anxiety; irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes; damage to the reproductive system; liver, spleen, and blood damage; and damage to the nervous system. These symptoms decrease the quality of life of any person and can be prolonged in time.
The most common respiratory effects caused by air pollution range from coughing, phlegm or wheezing to more serious effects such as tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. The effects are noticeable on lung function (the airways narrow and reduce airflow), inflame the airways, and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. As a result, diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia and even lung cancer can develop. These ailments can become chronic, prematurely age the lungs, and shorten people's lives.
Air pollution also has serious cardiovascular effects. Chest tightness or pain, palpitations, and unusual fatigue are the main symptoms. Pollution increases the number of people affected by coronary artery disease (when the heart does not get enough blood), abnormal heart rhythms (when the heart beats too fast or slow), and congestive heart failure, which can cause heart attacks.
The main groups of people affected by poor quality air are those suffering from pre-existing respiratory problems. Pregnant women and those whose jobs compel them to be outside for long periods during the day. Young children under the age of 14 years and the elderly are also more susceptible due to their lower resilience.
Either their immune system is not fully developed or it is compromised due to old age and general deterioration. Even though athletes are generally thought of as being the epitome of health, they too have to take care if their exercise regime takes them outside for prolonged periods. They will suffer the consequences of polluted air in the same manner as anybody else.