The Air Quality Index (AQI) monitors concentrations of five major pollutants (carbon monoxide, fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and sulphur dioxide) to determine whether the quality of air is Good, Fair, Poor, or Very Poor. Good is the best possible rating and means there are no known harmful effects to human or environmental health.
January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007, Niagara’s air quality measured Good 77.3% of the time. In 2007, Ontario recorded 59 poor air quality days overall; Niagara recorded 5 poor air quality days; Windsor (17 days), London (3 days) and Kitchener (6 days) over the same time period.
The Ontario Medical Association (OMA), using the Illness Costs of Air Pollution (ICAP) found that in 2007 more than 1,000 of 9,500 premature deaths took place in periods during and immediately after periods of high air pollution. The OMA identified 425 deaths in Niagara after these high pollution periods. Niagara was in the top 6 regions in Ontario in numbers related to premature deaths in these periods and many of those 6 regions were much larger than Niagara (i.e. Hamilton-Wentworth, 445; Ottawa-Carleton, 503).