SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board has developed a mobile website for smartphones and tablets that makes it possible to see real-time levels of ozone and fine particle pollution in your immediate area — or in towns and cities throughout California — on an hour-by-hour basis.
“This new mobile website brings together the convenience of smartphone technology with the State’s sophisticated air quality monitoring network,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “It uses the best technology available to make real-time air quality information easily available in more than 150 locations throughout California to protect public health, especially those individuals who are the most vulnerable to air pollution.”
Users of the Breathe Well mobile website can check air quality before they go outside or check air pollution levels in places they plan to visit. The easy-to-use Breathe Well mobile website draws on one of the most sophisticated and comprehensive air monitoring networks in the world made possible by the significant investment by the ARB and local air districts in California. The site can access hour-by-hour averages of data that is relayed from about 200 monitors statewide.
Real-time information will help people better manage the timing of their outdoor activities, and help teachers and parents of children with asthma know when it’s safe to play outside or participate in sporting activities. Real-time levels give an accurate indication of the air quality before that level may be reached. The hour-by-hour information can also be compared to other air quality indicators that predict the highest levels of pollution expected for that day, which typically are not reached until the afternoon.
The Breathe Well website can be accessed from any PC or mobile device with Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox or other Internet browsers. Breathe Well’s features include:
At-a-glance levels of ozone and fine particle pollution (PM2.5) linked to the location of a smartphone or tablet;
The ability to set the air pollution readout for your current location — or one of about 150 locations; and
Maps that pinpoint the location of nearby air quality monitors.
Breathe Well won “Best Mobile App” at the Mobile Government 2013 conference held at the Sacramento Convention Center last March.
Exposure to ground-level ozone and PM2.5 (particles 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller) are the two pollutants that most affect the air we breathe. High levels of ozone and fine particles can reduce lung function, making it more difficult to breathe, and can cause or worsen asthma and other cardiovascular disease. Ozone is a gas that forms when sunlight combines with emissions from traffic and other human activities. Particle pollution may be emitted directly into the air or can form in the air from other emissions.
San Diego County served as a test market for the Breathe Well mobile website, rolling it out last April. Breathe Well is a mobile website or mobile web application that can be accessed through a browser, not an actual application that is downloaded and resides on a mobile device. The Breathe Well mobile website can be easily recalled by storing its Internet address (http://breathewell.arb.ca.gov) as a ‘favorite’ in the browser that the handheld device uses to access the Internet.
CARB is the lead agency in California for cleaning up the air and fighting climate change to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards. Its mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective reduction of air and climate pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.