Air Quality Health Index

The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) provides hourly air quality readings and related health messages. The AQHI reports on the health risks posed by a mixture of pollutants, including:

  • particulate matter (PM2.5);
  • ground-level ozone (O3); and
  • nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

The rating for the AQHI is based on the combination of the health risks from each of the pollutants in the index. This method differs from the older Air Quality Index (AQI), which determined air quality based on the highest value of only one pollutant.

British Columbians can use the AQHI to check the quality of outdoor air before heading off to work or play.

How to Use the AQHI

In British Columbia, the Air Quality Health Index is available to more than 80 percent of the population in 14 communities — throughout Metro Vancouver and the Lower Fraser Valley, as well as in Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Vernon, Victoria and the South Okanagan (view the full list in the left hand navigation). The AQHI:

  • illustrates the level of health risk with a number and colour scale of 1 to 10 or higher;
  • labels the health risk as low, moderate, high or very high;
  • provides the predicted air-quality health risk over the next 36 hours;
  • provides advice on minimizing the health risk from air pollution.

For more information: Air Quality Health Index Variation across British Columbia (PDF) - An overview of the Air Quality Health Index and how it has been developed to provide British Columbians with an estimate of short-term health risk caused by degraded air quality.