Clean air is key to ensure quality of life for all residents of Central Texas. While air quality has improved in Central Texas, our region is still on the cusp of exceeding the current ozone standard. As of 2017, our design value for ozone is 69 parts per billion (ppb). The standard is 70 ppb. In 2018, there were still over 125 days when air pollution levels in the region were considered “moderate” or worse.
The EPA calculates the Air Quality Index by measuring ground level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide.
Travis County had 9 days when air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups in 2018. Sensitive groups include people with lung diseases, children, older adults, and people who exercise or work outdoors. The EPA’s AirNow website shares local, real-time air quality data to help people protect their health.
The Austin MSA has good air quality, when compared to these select US cities. Only Portland has better air quality. Denver and Philadelphia have the fewest number of good air quality days among these cities.