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Here's how to check Houston's daily air quality

Chron logo Chron 1/22/2021 Jay R. Jordan
map © AirNow.gov

It's the forecast for your lungs.

Along with daily weather reports, Houstonians can see how the air is faring, thanks to this tool from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

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It's not new or anything. But part of my new role at Chron is making big-brain environmental issues into bite-sized pieces, and I'm learning some of these basic tools – and thought I would pass them along.

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates pollutants in two categories: PM2.5 and PM10, the numbers representing particle size in micrometers.

Particulate matter (the "PM" in the unit) is anything from the smallest chemicals to the finest sands from a concrete lot. This stuff is harmful to your lungs and can cause major health problems, especially in those with severe asthma.

Another pollutant they monitor is ozone, which creates smog.

Checking the site can help you make decisions on what your day looks like, especially if you already have a hard time breathing.

The TCEQ ranks the forecast in six categories: good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous.

From there, you can visit AirNow.gov, which details more information about the Houston forecast.

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