Revised PM2.5 AQI breakpoints

Posted on September 9th 2013

For some historical reason, the AQI convertion formula used for some of the cities on the World Air Quality Index project were not using the updated 2012 EPA PM2.5 standard. (This is only relevant for cities in Asia, like Japan and Taiwan. Other continents (America, Europe and Australia) have always been using the 2012 standard.

The main change is this updated EPA standard, published on December 14th 2012, compared to the previous one (published in 1999), is to reduce (limit) the PM2.5 AQI level 50 from 15µg/m3 to 12µg/m3, and this in order to enforce more strict air quality standards.

Since September 9th 2013, all the countries are now using the same PM2.5 AQI conversion scale, which is reflected in this table:

AQI CategoryIndex ValuesPrevious Breakpoints
(µg/m3, 24-hour average)
Revised Breakpoints
(µg/m3, 24-hour average)
Good0 - 500.0 - 15.00.0 – 12.0
Moderate51 - 100>15.0 - 4012.1 – 35.4
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups101 – 150>40 – 6535.5 – 55.4
Unhealthy151 – 200> 65 – 15055.5 – 150.4
Very Unhealthy201 – 300> 150 – 250150.5 – 250.4
Hazardous301 – 400> 250 – 350250.5 – 350.4
Hazardous401 – 500> 350 – 500350.5 – 500

On a PM2.5 particule mass scale from 0µg/m3 to 100µg/m3, here is a visual comparison for the old and new standard AQI grades:

10 µg/m320 µg/m330 µg/m340 µg/m350 µg/m360 µg/m370 µg/m380 µg/m390

The Ozone calculation has also been updated to taken into account the 8-hours standard: The Ozone AQI is the calculated as the maximum of the 1-hour and 8 hours AQI, where the 1 hour AQI is only valid above 100 and the 8 hours AQI below 300. The 8 hour averaging is based on the calculation described in the procedure for calculating state 8-hour ozone concentrations.

AQI CategoryIndex Values8-hours breakpoints
1-hour breakpoints
Good0 - 500 - 60-
Moderate51 - 10060 - 75-
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups101 – 15075 – 95125 - 165
Unhealthy151 – 20095 – 115165 - 205
Very Unhealthy201 – 300115 – 375205 - 405
Hazardous301 – 500-405 - 505

Click here to see all the FAQ entries
  • Nitrogen Dioxyde (NO2) in our atmosphere
  • Ozone AQI Scale update
  • Kriging Interpolation

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    À propos de la qualité et de la mesure de la pollution atmosphérique:

    A propos des niveaux de qualité de l'air

    IQANiveau de pollution de l'air Impact sur la santé
    0 - 50BonLa qualité de l'air est jugée satisfaisante, et la pollution de l'air pose peu ou pas de risque.
    51 -100ModéréAir quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
    101-150Mauvais pour les groupes sensiblesLa qualité de l'air est acceptable; Cependant, pour certains polluants, il peut y avoir un problème de santé modérée pour un très petit nombre de personnes qui sont particulièrement sensibles à la pollution de l'air.
    151-200MauvaisTout le monde peut commencer à ressentir des effets sur la santé; les membres des groupes sensibles peuvent ressentir des effets de santé plus graves.
    201-300Très mauvaisAvertissements de santé de conditions d'urgence. Toute la population est plus susceptible d'être affecté.
    300+DangereuxAlerte de santé: tout le monde peut ressentir des effets de santé plus graves.

    Pour en savoir plus sur la qualité de l'air, consultez le sujet Qualité de l'air sur wikipedia ou le guide AirNow de la qualité de l'air et de votre santé .

    Pour des conseils de santé très utiles de Docteur Richard Saint Cyr, consultez le blog

    Usage Notice: All the Air Quality data are unvalidated at the time of publication, and due to quality assurance these data may be amended, without notice, at any time. The World Air Quality Index project has exercised all reasonable skill and care in compiling the contents of this information and under no circumstances will the World Air Quality Index project team or its agents be liable in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss, injury or damage arising directly or indirectly from the supply of this data.


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