Air Quality
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​What is the link between air quality and climate change?

Air quality is a measure of the concentration of pollutants in the air. Outdoor air quality is rated poor when there are high enough concentrations of pollutants to be considered harmful to the environment or to humans in the short term.

How does air quality affect my health?

The most common health effects from poor air quality are respiratory diseases. For some people, it can mean coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. More severe respiratory diseases include allergies, asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. At higher contamination levels, air pollution can cause pneumonia, lung disease, lung cancer and premature death. Poor air quality can also cause cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, heart failure and heart attack.

Radon gas has been gaining attention as a very hazardous, naturally occurring pollutant.  Most people are exposed to radon gas at low levels on a regular basis. It is colourless, odorless and tasteless and can only be detected through testing.  It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

What is Interior Health doing to help?

Our Health Protection office works to identify and assess the impact of air quality on the population’s health and to implement strategies to mitigate air quality hazards. Some of the initiatives include:

  1. Participation in several community air quality groups.
  2. Implementation of a Smoke Free Environment policy in 2005 (revised most recently in 2014).
  3. Collaboration with local government on Tobacco Free Zone signage at parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities throughout the region.
  4. Piloting the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) for Thompson and Okanagan Valleys.

Our Air Quality website also provides education and awareness for the general public.


MoH     PCQO