The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a scale designed to help people understand what the air quality around them means to their health and suggests actions that people can take to reduce the health impacts of air pollution.

Some groups are at greater risk of health problems with increasing air pollution, such as:

  • People with diabetes, heart/lung disease or breathing problems (such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, lung cancer) or heart disease (such as angina, a history of heart attacks, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat).
  • Seniors because of weakening of the heart, lungs and immune system and increased likelihood of health problems such as heart and lung disease.
  • Children because they have less-developed respiratory and defense systems. Children also spend more time outdoors being physically active, which can increase their exposure to air pollution.
  • People participating in sports or strenuous work outdoors because they breathe more deeply and rapidly, allowing more air pollution to enter their lungs. They may experience symptoms like eye, nose or throat irritation, cough or difficulty breathing when air pollution levels are high.

The AQHI and corresponding health messaging can help people, especially those that are most sensitive to air pollution, make decisions to protect their health by limiting their short-term exposure to air pollution and by adjusting their activity levels during increased levels of air pollution. Visit how to use the AQHI when planning outdoor activities. Visit the Government of Canada’s AQHI website to learn more about the AQHI, view videos about air quality and much more.

Find information on:

Toronto Public Health: Air Quality Health Index

One minute video introduction tothe Air Quality Health Index.

The Government of Canada’s WeatherCAN app lets you:

  • View current weather conditions, forecasts and alerts in your area and saved locations in Canada
  • View the AQHI in your area and set custom AQHI notifications based on your unique risk level

The WeatherCAN app is available for free in the Google Play and Apple stores.