Government of New Brunswick
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Clean air is important to all New Brunswickers and Canadians alike.  Air pollution sends thousands of Canadians to hospital each year and results in many premature deaths.

In order to help New Brunswickers understand how air quality can affect their health, the Department of Health is working with NB Department of Environment, Environment Canada (EC) and Health Canada (HC) along with other partners such as the New Brunswick Lung Association to introduce the Air Quality Health Index.

What is the AQHI?

  • A simple scale that measures the health risk associated with local air quality conditions
  • Helps individuals make decisions to protect their health by providing information on the level of risk associated with pollution levels
  • Allows individuals to plan and enjoy outdoor activities at times when the health risk is low
  • The AQHI is calculated based on the relative risks of a combination of common air pollutants which are known to harm human health.  These pollutants include: Ozone (O3) at ground level, Particulate Matter (PM2.5/PM10) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).

How does the AQHI work?

  • The AQHI is measured on a coloured scale of 1 to 10+
  • The higher the value, the greater the health risk and hence the greater the need to take precautions
  • The AQHI provides different messages to those who are more sensitive to air pollution than the general population
Health Risk AQHI Health Messages
At Risk Population* General Population
Low 1 - 3 Enjoy your usual outdoor activities.

Ideal air quality for outdoor activities.

 Moderate 4 - 6 Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you are experiencing symptoms. No need to modify your usual outdoor activities unless you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.
 High 7 - 10 Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also take it easy. Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.
 Very High Above
10
Avoid strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also avoid outdoor physical exertion. Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

* children, the elderly, people with pre-existing heart and breathing problems and people participating in sports or strenuous work outdoors

How can I reduce my personal contribution to air pollution?

  • Reduce home energy use
  • Maintain your gas powered equipment and vehicles in good working order
  • Reduce vehicle use, support public transportation
  • Never burn garbage and products such as painted or pressure treated wood and plastics that contain toxic chemicals which can end up in the lungs.
  • If you choose to use a wood stove as a heat source use a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified stove to improve combustion and reduce emissions.
  • Keep fires small and hot. Smouldering fires create more smoke.
  • Spread the word!

Where can I find the AQHI?

Individuals can check the AQHI on a regular basis to find out how they can best be protected from air pollution.

Visit Canada’s Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) website and/or call the provincial AQHI line at 1-888-484-2744.