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| 22 US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Davenport is currently 1.1 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Monday, Feb 26
Moderate 56 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 27
Good 35 AQI US
|Wednesday, Feb 28
Good 34 AQI US
Good 22 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 1
Good 19 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Good 34 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 3
Moderate 52 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 4
Good 19 AQI US
|Tuesday, Mar 5
Good 6 AQI US
|Wednesday, Mar 6
Good 6 AQI US
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Davenport is a city and the county seat of Scott County, Iowa, United States. It can be found in the eastern region of the state on the banks of the Mississippi River. It is the largest of the Quad Cities with a 2010 estimated population of 383,000 inhabitants, for the metropolitan area. (The Quad Cities is a region of cities in the U.S. states of Iowa and Illinois: Davenport and Bettendorf in southeastern Iowa, and Rock Island, and Moline in northwestern Illinois).
Looking back at the air quality report on the IQAir website, it can be seen that Davenport was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality in the middle of 2021. The figure recorded on the website was the US AQI reading of 96. This United States Air Quality Index number is an internationally used set of metrics supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is used to compare the quality of air in different cities throughout the world using comparable standards. It is calculated by using the levels of the six most commonly found pollutants. If figures for all six are not available, then a figure is calculated using what data there is. For Davenport, both PM2.5 and PM10 were recorded, the figures being 33.5 µg/m³ and 27 µg/m³ respectively.
When air pollution is classified as “Moderate” the given advice is to close doors and windows to prevent the ingress of more dirty air into the rooms. Those who are sensitive to poor air quality should try to remain indoors as much as possible until the quality improves. The table published at the top of this page should help with that decision. The wearing of a quality face mask will help in the situation when going outdoors is necessary.
Looking at the figures published on the IQAir website for 2020, it can be seen that the month with the lowest quality air was December when the recorded figure was 13.8 µg/m³. This is not a high figure by any standards so we can assume that the air quality in Davenport is usually acceptable. In the four months of May and June and again in September and October Davenport achieved the optimal target figure of 10 µg/m³ or less. This is the recommended level from the World Health Organization (WHO), even though no air pollution is safe, less than 10 µg/m³ is deemed acceptable. The remaining 7 months of the year all returned figures between 10 and 12 µg/m³ which classified them as being in the “Good” bracket.
Historically, records were first kept in 2017 when the recorded figure was 10.4 µg/m³ and this figure was repeated for the following year in 2018. 2019 showed a slight improvement with a 9.5 µg/m³ recording. But in 2020 it slipped back to 10.8 µg/m³. However, this may not be a truly accurate reading because of the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many vehicles were no longer used as the drivers were furloughed and not required to commute to and from work on a daily basis. There were also many factories and other non-essential production units which were temporarily closed in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
In 1997 particle pollution was divided into two divisions, Particulate Matter PM10, particles equal to or smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter, and Particulate Matter PM2.5, particles equal to or smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. Ozone and particle pollution are the most widespread health threats.
Particulates are the most common type of air pollutant in Iowa. There are seasonal particulate problems such as dust from agricultural activities, gravel roads, construction worksites, and smoke from burning leaves. Dust, smoke, and diesel exhaust are particulate pollutants that pose direct health threats to people.
Chemical pollutants are released constantly into Iowa’s air. The majority of these pollutants are the result of burning fossil fuels by utilities, industries, and motor vehicles.
The most common chemical pollutant in Iowa is sulfur dioxide which mainly comes from power plants. Nearly all of Iowa’s electrical power plants use coal as their fuel source. Coal contains more sulfur than other fossil fuels and releases sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere when burned. It is also the chief constituent of acid rain.
Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are a group of pollutants emitted through fossil fuel use. Cars, trucks, airplanes, and other motor vehicles release nitrogen oxide in their exhaust. In the same way as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides are damaging to the lungs and react in the atmosphere to cause acid rain. It is worth noting that Iowa does not have a huge amount of vehicles on its roads therefore nitrogen oxides are not generally thought to have a direct detrimental effect on Iowa’s air quality. Concentrations have not been measured in Iowa since 1981.
Ground-level ozone is a dangerous pollutant and the main ingredient of smog. In reality, smog is a mixture of ozone and other chemical and particulate pollutants called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released through the burning or vaporization of fuel. Smog is often seen hanging in the air above large cities, but it can be blown long distances by the wind so can also be a problem in rural areas.
Carbon monoxide (CO) and lead are also chemical pollutants released as a result of motor vehicles, and both can be deadly. In areas of heavy traffic congestion, people can become sick from carbon monoxide poisoning or may suffer long-term health risks from lead poisoning. Although lead has mainly been removed from gasoline so no longer poses the problem that it once did. Lead has also been removed from paint and other similar substances by being replaced by modern chemicals which are less harmful.
Pollution control equipment can reduce emissions by cleaning the exhaust fumes before it is emitted into the environment. A wide variety of equipment can be used to clean dirty air depending on the chemicals given off. There are other ways to reduce emissions besides using pollution control equipment, such as preventing emissions to begin with. Air quality permits help minimize, reduce or prevent emissions as much as possible by placing requirements on how things are done. Because emission controls are expensive, many companies are reluctant to install them.
The Clean Air Act requires most areas of the country to maintain low levels of PM10 particulates, many areas, including some places in Iowa, do not always meet the national standard. Cities in Iowa which have exceeded the PM10 standard in recent years are Buffalo, Davenport, Des Moines, and Mason City.
Iowa currently ranks among the top 20 states nationally for annual emissions of harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases into the air. The state's toxic air emissions from manufacturing, power, chemical and other plants increased by 6 percent to 18.7 million pounds from 2010 to 2014, the most recent year for which complete data is available. Compared to its neighbors, Iowa ranks second only to Illinois for the number of toxins being released into the atmosphere, and third behind Illinois and Missouri on industrial greenhouse gas emissions.
Several of the worst offenders are actively taking measures to reduce their emissions. One grain processing company has recently replaced 11 old operative systems with a new grain drying system and changed from coal to natural gas as its main source of fuel. Another factory is currently installing scrubbers on their chimneys which is expected to reduce ammonia emissions by up to 90 percent. Ammonia is a colorless gas that has a pungent odor at high concentrations and in lesser amounts can cause eye, nose and throat irritation. Ammonia emissions are reported but currently are unregulated. The main concern apart from the detrimental effects it has on human health is when it is carried back down to earth due to rainfall and transforms into nitrogen which contaminates open water. Ammonia also reacts with nitrogen oxide which is released from vehicle emissions to form fine particulate pollution PM2.5.
Iowa has shown a vast improvement in its reduction of greenhouse gases which mainly came from industrial facilities and utility companies. This 11 percent reduction is largely the result of more investment in wind and solar energy, and changing from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas to fuel power generation. By 2025, there will be only two coal plants in Iowa. There is already a natural gas-powered facility that has come online to replace the old coal-fired ones.
$1 billion has been invested in wind energy, and its building two solar arrays in Dubuque and another in Cedar Rapids at a nature center. Wind was second only to coal as an energy source for electricity generation. Iowa received 31 percent of its electricity from wind which is a larger share than any other state.
Many residents experience some type of symptoms related to air pollution, such as watery eyes, coughing or noise when breathing. Even for healthy people, polluted air can cause irritation or breathing difficulties during exercise or outdoor activities. Your actual risk depends on your current health, the type and concentration of the pollutant, and the length of time you have been exposed to the polluted air.
Air pollution does not affect everybody to the same extent, those more susceptible to poor quality air are those with pre-existing heart or lung disease or respiratory problems such as asthma or emphysema. Pregnant women, outdoor workers and children under the age of 14 years due to the fact that their lungs are still developing. And elderly people who have a weaker immune system.
Children are threatened by air pollution in two ways; they breathe more air in relation to their body weight and size of their lungs and they play more outdoors and they are more vulnerable because their bodies are still developing, making them more susceptible to irritation and disease. Because of their lower height, they are closer to the source of fumes emitted by vehicles.
High levels of air pollution can cause immediate health problems such as putting more stress on the heart and lungs which make them work harder to supply the body with the level of oxygen that it needs. It can also aggravate cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and cause irrevocable damage to cells in the respiratory system.
Prolonged exposure leads to permanent damage to health such as the accelerated aging of the lungs and loss of lung capacity. It also encourages the development of diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and possibly cancer. It can also lead to premature death.
Smog is the general term used to describe a variety of air pollutants, including ground-level ozone (the main ingredient in smog), particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. The term refers to air pollution that forms when gases from many sources are released into the air and chemically react with each other in sunlight. Smog is very easily carried by the wind to faraway places so rural areas can be equally affected as urban environments.
Ozone is a strong irritant that can limit the airways, forcing the respiratory system to work harder to provide oxygen. It can also aggravate respiratory diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma. It also can damage deep parts of the lungs, even after symptoms such as a cough or sore throat go away and decrease resistance to infection and lead to increased fatigue.
Particulate Matter both PM2.5 and PM10 have now been scientifically found to be the cause of a variety of health problems. The PM2.5 particles, in particular. They have been proven to worsen asthma cases as well as heart and lung diseases. Visits to the doctor and hospital increase when people are exposed to high levels regularly. Shortness of breath can be experienced due to reduced lung function.
When carbon monoxide is inhaled it replaces oxygen in the blood which can lead to chest pain because the heart is not getting the desired amount of oxygen it needs. It causes a slowing-down to the reflexes and can cause drowsiness. In large enough amounts in enclosed spaces it can also lead to death.