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Air Quality Health Index


What is the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI)?

The AQHI is a national health-based index to help individuals protect their health and the health of people in their care. The AQHI uses a simple 10-point scale to indicate the level of health risk associated with local air quality – the higher the reading, the greater the health risk and the greater the need to take precautions. On rare occasions, the Air Quality Health Index may be 10+, which means that there is a very high health risk.

Why is the AQHI important?

The AQHI is an important tool that helps you plan a healthy day.

Since strenuous activities increase the amount of air you breathe, the AQHI can help you decide when to enjoy the benefits of physical activity and when to reduce or reschedule your activity.

The AQHI helps you understand your response to different pollution levels to help plan and enjoy outdoor physical activities at times when health risks are low.

AQHI Video from the Weather Network

How often should I check the AQHI and how?

Check the AQHI every day at the AQHI website Information is updated hourly and a forecast is also provided for the next day.

Join the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change's Email Air Quality Alert Notification so that you will receive an automatic e-mail about high AQHI readings.

You can also sign up for the WeatherActive app to help you stay active and healthy by receiving heat and air quality reports, listing places to cool down and get tips for planning healthy outdoor activities.

In the region of Peel, the AQHI readings for the cities of Mississauga and Brampton will be taken at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change's Air Quality monitoring stations. The AQHI reading for Caledon will be taken from the monitoring station in Newmarket.

Who is considered an at-risk population?

At-risk populations include children, the elderly, people with pre-existing heart and breathing problems and people who work outdoors. The AQHI provides different health messages for the at-risk and general population.

How is the AQHI calculated?

The AQHI is calculated based on the human health risk of a mixture of common air pollutants. For more information, consult the Air Quality Ontario website.


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Revised: Wednesday July 15 2015


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