Seattle currently has the second-worst air quality in the world.
According to IQ Air’s World Major City Air Quality list, Seattle has come in second place after Portland, beating out several large cities usually known for having the world’s worst air quality, including Beijing and Delhi.
The high ranking comes as wildfires continue to rage across the country. Seattle’s current air quality index (AQI) sits at 180, which is considered unhealthy according to IQAIR.
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IQ Air bases its rankings on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air quality index (AQI) in order to “translate pollutant concentrations to a relatable scale for risk to health.”
This scale ranges from 0 to 500, where 0 is considered good air quality, 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 150 is unhealthy for sensitive groups, 151 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 is very unhealthy, and 301 to 500 is hazardous to health.
IQ Air notes that wildfires “release a range of air toxins including particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Among these, fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, is most often present at the riskiest levels to health.”