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WRITER: LINDSAY RUNYAN
CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
5139 Westlawn
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax (319) 384-4638
e-mail: david-pedersen@uiowa.edu

Release: July 6, 2001

UI Hygienic Laboratory's Web site features Iowa air quality data

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Air Quality Bureau have launched a new feature on the Hygienic Laboratory Web site that monitors ambient (outdoor) air quality around the state.

The Hygienic Laboratory Air Quality Section operates and maintains ambient air monitoring stations throughout Iowa. These stations measure the levels of air pollutants in the state. The stations are located in or near the following cities: Clinton, Davenport, Buffalo, Muscatine, Keokuk, Keosauqua, Iowa City, Dundee/Manchester, Mason City, Emmetsburg, Estherville, Sioux City, Sergeant Bluff, Pisgah/Harrison County and Council Bluffs. The Linn and Polk County Health Departments operate similar monitoring systems in their counties.

The Web site shows the air quality index readings using a simplified scale that is a combination of color and numeric readings. The readings are calculated individually for pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen dioxide. The higher the number, the more hazardous the pollutants are to your health.

"The Web site can serve as a resource for Iowa residents to determine the air quality in their area and make decisions about what outdoor activities are appropriate," said Jeff Wasson, Hygienic Laboratory air quality supervisor. "It can aid special populations, such as people with asthma and heart ailments, in making determinations regarding how long or if they should even go outside on days with high ozone or particulate concentrations."

The Web site contains information not only about the network operated by the Hygienic Laboratory but also links to additional sites that have real time air data from other states and regions as well as links to educational pages on air quality maintained by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies.

To check the ambient air quality in your area, access the Hygienic Laboratory Web site at www.uhl.uiowa.edu/Services/AirQuality/f_ambientAir.html.

If you have questions about ambient air quality or the new Web site feature, please contact Wasson at (319) 335-4500.