Air quality in Cedar Rapids

Air quality index (AQI) and PM2.5 air pollution in Cedar Rapids

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What is the current weather in Cedar Rapids?

Weather icon
WeatherClear sky
Wind5.7 mp/h
Pressure1014 mb

live aqi city ranking

Real-time USA city ranking

#cityUS AQI
1 Healy, Alaska


2 Anchor Point, Alaska


3 North Pole, Alaska


4 Farmers Loop, Alaska


5 Fairbanks, Alaska


6 Bethel, North Carolina


7 Willow, Alaska


8 College, Alaska


9 Valdez, Alaska


10 Ester, Alaska


(local time)


live Cedar Rapids aqi ranking

Real-time Cedar Rapids air quality ranking

#stationUS AQI
1 Fillmore Schools 2


2 Northwest Area


3 Oakhill Jackson




5 Cedar Valley


(local time)




live AQI index

Human face indicating AQI level


What is the current air quality in Cedar Rapids?

Air pollution levelAir quality indexMain pollutant
Good 44 US AQItrendPM2.5



PM2.5 concentration in Cedar Rapids is currently 2.1 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value

Health Recommendations

How to protect from air pollution in Cedar Rapids?

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Cedar Rapids air quality index (AQI) forecast

DayPollution levelWeatherTemperatureWind
Saturday, Jun 25

Good 24 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon73.4°57.2°
Wind rotating 322 degree

15.7 mp/h

Sunday, Jun 26

Good 43 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon78.8°51.8°
Wind rotating 322 degree

6.7 mp/h

Monday, Jun 27

Moderate 57 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon80.6°57.2°
Wind rotating 212 degree

13.4 mp/h

Tuesday, Jun 28

Good 39 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon84.2°62.6°
Wind rotating 197 degree

8.9 mp/h


Good 44 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon82.4°64.4°
Wind rotating 204 degree

15.7 mp/h

Thursday, Jun 30

Good 30 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon69.8°60.8°
Wind rotating 248 degree

8.9 mp/h

Friday, Jul 1

Good 26 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon75.2°57.2°
Wind rotating 144 degree

4.5 mp/h

Saturday, Jul 2

Good 23 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon75.2°59°
Wind rotating 163 degree

13.4 mp/h

Sunday, Jul 3

Good 29 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon87.8°69.8°
Wind rotating 206 degree

13.4 mp/h

Monday, Jul 4

Good 36 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon82.4°60.8°
Wind rotating 61 degree

13.4 mp/h

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Historic air quality graph for Cedar Rapids

How to best protect from air pollution?

Reduce your air pollution exposure in Cedar Rapids


What is the current level of air pollution in Cedar Rapids?

Cedar Rapids is the second-largest city in Iowa and is the county seat of Linn County. It straddles the Cedar River roughly 32 kilometers north of Iowa City. According to a census conducted in 2010, Cedar Rapids had an estimated population of 126,000 people. If the metropolitan area is included then the figure jumps up to 255,452.

During August 2021, Cedar Rapids was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality with a US AQI reading of 71. This United States Air Quality Index number is calculated using the levels of six of the most prolific air pollutants, such as 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. The only record available in August 2021 in Cedar Rapids was PM2.5 which was 21.5 µg/m³. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a recommended level of 10 µg/m³, so with this figure, it is not at a very extreme level but just over twice their recommended limit, although no amount of air pollution is classed as being safe.

With pollution at this level, the given advice would be to stay inside and close all windows and doors to prevent the ingress of more polluted air. An air purifier would be beneficial if one is available. Avoid exercising outside until the quality improves and if venturing outside is unavoidable, then the wearing of 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 on the move.

Does the level of pollution stay the same throughout the year in Cedar Rapids?

Air pollution is very volatile and therefore can change very quickly depending on meteorological conditions. Studying the figures published by IQAir for 2020 it can be seen that the month with the worst air quality was during December when the recorded figure was 12.2 µg/m³. To be categorized as such, the figures should fall between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³, so it was almost borderline. January was the only other month to record a “Good” level of air with a reading of 10.5 µg/m³. Figures between 10 and 12 µg/m³ fall into the “Good” bracket. The remaining ten months of the year achieved the target figure as suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) of being less than 10 µg/m³. It was the month of June that provided the highest air quality with a reading of 7.0 µg/m³.

Historically, records on air quality have been kept since 2017 when a reading of 7.4 µg/m³ was noted. A decline was seen the following year with 8.4 µg/m³, but then an improvement in 2019 to 7.9 µg/m³. Declining again in 2020 to 8.9 µg/m³. The 2020 decline coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, many vehicles were no longer in daily use in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus. Many factories and non-essential production units were also required to close which removed their emissions from the atmosphere.

Where does the air pollution come from in Cedar Rapids?

Air pollution can be defined as an alteration of air quality that can be characterized by measurements of chemical, biological or physical pollutants in the air. Therefore, air pollution means the undesirable presence of impurities or the abnormal rise in the proportion of some constituents of the atmosphere. It can be classified into 2 sections: visible and invisible air pollution.

Air pollution is caused by the presence in the atmosphere of toxic substances, mainly produced by human activities, even though sometimes it can result from natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions, dust storms and wildfires, also depleting the air quality.

Combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil for electricity and road transport, producing air pollutants like nitrogen and sulfur dioxide. Emissions from industries and factories, releasing large amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, chemicals and organic compounds into the air. Agricultural activities, due to the use of pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers that emit harmful chemicals. Waste production, mostly because of methane generation in landfills.

Nearly one-half of everyone living in the United States which is an estimated 150 million, live in areas that don’t meet federal air quality standards. Passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks are a major source of this pollution, which includes ozone, particulate matter, and other smog-forming emissions. The health risks of air pollution are extremely serious. Poor air quality increases respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis, increases the risk of life-threatening conditions such as cancer, and burdens the health care system with substantial medical costs. Particulate matter is singlehandedly responsible for up to 30,000 premature deaths each year.

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.

Can anything be done to reduce air pollution in Cedar Rapids?

The most basic solution for air pollution is to move away from fossil fuels, replacing them with alternative energies like solar, wind and geothermal. Producing clean energy is crucial. But equally important is to reduce our consumption of energy by adopting responsible habits and using more efficient devices. Shifting to electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles, and promoting shared mobility (i.e. carpooling, and public transports) could reduce air pollution. From planning to demolition, green building aims to create environmentally responsible and resource-efficient structures to reduce their carbon footprint.

Clean vehicle and fuel technologies provide us with an affordable, available means of reducing transportation-related air pollution and climate change emissions. These include fuel-efficient vehicles that use less oil; cleaner fuels that produce fewer emissions; and electric cars and trucks that can entirely remove exhaust emissions. Strong federal and state policies also help. Vehicle emission standards have helped cut pollution from cars and trucks by about 90 percent since 1998, with further improvements coming from the Tier 3 standards. Future emissions reductions from trucks and other freight sources are essential for meeting air quality standards and protecting the health of those who live and work close to ports, rail yards, and freight corridors.

From walking to work to carpooling, there are lots of ways you can reduce your impact. Since most pollution from cars and trucks is due to the burning of fossil fuel, you can reduce pollution from these sources by burning less fuel, burning fuel cleaner and burning cleaner fuel. You can use transit and car- or van-pool as often as you can. Doing so three times a week can reduce your fuel consumption by up to 50 percent. Cycling or walking will reduce the use of fuel completely. Minimize driving by working and playing closer to home.

What are the consequences of wildfires near Cedar Rapids?

Until a few hundred years ago, forest fires were a natural “activity” caused mostly by rare phenomena, such as a volcanic eruption or earthquake, which occur in very specific geographic areas. It is therefore not them but lightning that is the main cause of the outbreaks of forest fires of natural origin today. But today, these natural causes are much less frequent and now give way to human activities, whether voluntary or not.

A forest fire devastates the flora and fauna; after a fire, residential areas and traffic routes are at increased risk of erosion and rock fall. And yet, the species quickly reappear and their diversity exceeds that of the initial forest in just a few years. How quickly the forest heals its wounds depends on the type and frequency of fires raging there. During frequent and intense fires, only pyrophyte species survive, that is, those which are adapted to fire. In addition, forest fire alters living conditions and facilitates the spread of new species. After the fire, the temporarily more sparse forest structure, as well as the short-term improvement in the nutritional situation, provide favorable living conditions for many animals and plants.

More serious consequences appear after the fire, the fire leaving a layer of ash which has a water-repellent effect. For one to two years, rainwater hardly penetrates the soil and runs off the surface, causing erosion, especially during heavy rainfall. Mudslides can even occur with persistent rains. After a high-intensity fire, preventive works protect the area against falling rocks and landslides.

What are the detrimental effects of air pollution in Cedar Rapids on our health?

Ground-level ozone (O3) is formed when volatile organic compounds (VOC) react with nitrogen oxides (NOx) due to exposure to ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. Exposure to this compound will aggravate the respiratory system and cause bronchitis, emphysema and provoke asthma attacks.

Biological agents, such as pollens and molds, can also be responsible for health effects. In addition, there are several types of interactions between air pollutants and pollens since certain chemical air pollutants can promote the allergic reaction by lowering the threshold of bronchial reactivity and/or by accentuating the irritation of the nasal mucous membranes or oculars and can also act on pollen grains, for example by deforming or breaking the wall of the pollen grain, which then allows them to penetrate deeper into the respiratory system than whole pollen grains.

The effects of air pollution on health observed following exposure of a few hours to a few days (acute exposure, known as short-term) are as follows: eye or respiratory tract irritations, asthma attacks, exacerbation of cardiovascular and respiratory disorders which can lead to hospitalization, and in the most serious cases to death.

Exposure to PM2.5 particulate matter is particularly bad as it can easily bypass the bodies’ natural defense mechanism and enter the lungs. They travel as far as the alveoli which are microscopic air sacs found at the base of the bronchial tubes. From here they can easily enter the bloodstream and get as far as the heart. Here they can produce an irregular heartbeat and even premature death. Irritation of the airways and difficulty in breathing are also associated with the inhalation of these tiny particles.

Even when exposed to these pollutants for just a short time, even healthy people become more susceptible to lung diseases, acute bronchitis and asthma attacks. Minor symptoms can include irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. A feeling of tightness in the chest and the constant need to cough are also experienced as is shortness of breath.

A large number of pollutants are emitted near road infrastructure and come not only from vehicle exhaust emissions but also from other sources such as tire and brake wear, vehicle air conditioning technologies, 'wear and tear of roads and the upkeep of their surroundings (use of phytosanitary products, etc.). In addition to these so-called "primary" pollutants, because they are emitted directly by pollution sources, there are so-called "secondary" pollutants, such as particles, resulting from chemical reactions between pollutants occurring in the atmosphere.

Even young, strong healthy people can experience health influences from polluted air including respiratory irritation or breathing difficulties during exercise or strenuous outdoor activities. The actual risk of adverse effects depends on your current health status, the pollutant type and concentration, and the length of the exposure to the polluted air.

High levels of air pollution can cause immediate health problems which could include aggravated cardiovascular and respiratory illness, added stress to the heart and lungs, which means that they must work harder to supply the body with the amount of oxygen that it needs. Cells within the respiratory system can be damaged beyond repair.

Long-term exposure to polluted air can accelerate the aging of the lungs which will lead to loss of capacity and a general decrease in lung function. Diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and possibly cancer are more easily developed and even the shortening of lifespan can occur.

The most susceptible groups of people are people who are suffering from pre-existing respiratory problems, pregnant women, outdoor workers, children under the age of 14 and senior citizens.

Cedar Rapids air quality data attribution

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Data sources 2

Data validated and calibrated by IQAir

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