PurpleAir Blog

  • How Does Wildfire Smoke Travel?

    The bigger the wildfire, the more likely the smoke will travel farther from the source. Why? The smoke from a wildfire typically gets shot up into the sky vertically, after which it expands outward into a plume. These monstrous clouds of smoke are called pyrocumulonimbus clouds. For this reason, the air quality in the region directly surrounding a wildfire may not be as bad as in the downwind areas. After shooting high up into the atmosphere, sometimes even as far as the stratosphere, the smoke moves outward horizontally, landing on top of cities.
  • US Air Quality Fact Sheet 2021

    While studies show that air quality in the US is significantly better than it was 50 years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) is updating its standards of what acceptable air quality is.

    With the WHO’s new safety guidelines of no more than 5 µg/m³ of particulate pollution, it seems that the vast majority of Americans (~97%) are at risk of unsafe levels of air pollution.

  • Indoor Plants Reduce Indoor Air Pollution, Right?

    A quick search on the internet will reveal many different opinions and studies pointing in opposite directions. While controversial, it is good to be informed and read from trusted sources. Here you will find a summary of some studies and their opinion.
  • Protect Your Family from Wildfire Smoke: Create a Clean Room

    Pollution can enter your home in many ways and for various reasons. Wildfire smoke is one of the most recurrent reasons in areas where wildfires are frequent. To prevent you and your family from breathing polluted air, creating a “clean room” is a common practice.
  • Effects of Air Pollution During Infancy

    The study states that the increased stress on children’s bodies caused by air pollution can contribute to a host of health problems, such as a higher risk of lung function development, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses[2]. One of the main culprits contributing to these risks is the concentration of Particulate Matter (PM) in our ambient environment.
  • Air Quality Alerts App

    Airwyn is a free app that allows you to monitor your PurpleAir sensor and supports AQI conversion formulas from US EPA, LRAPA, and AQandU. It will also send you alerts whenever the air quality improves or worsens. If you do not own a PurpleAir sensor, don't worry! Airwyn can also track and receive alerts from a close-by PurpleAir or AirNow sensor.
  • Update 2022: Air Quality Life Index (AQLI)

    The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago released an update to the Air Quality Life Index earlier this year (June 2022). It brings us new insights into the air quality around the world. The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) was developed by the University of Chicago’s Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics Michael Greenstone and his team at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). 
  • What are R2 values in Air Quality?

    Recognizing the benefits and challenges of having low-cost sensors widely available, South Coast AQMD is helping to assess the wide range of performance from these sensors through their AQ-SPEC program. Accurate sensors "significantly augment and improve current ambient air monitoring capabilities that now predominantly rely on more sophisticated and expensive fixed-site federal-reference monitoring devices and methods."
  • Wildfire Update – July 2022

    The NOAA reports that wildfires have burned over 3.9 million acres from January to June 2022, the second-highest amount on record. July continues the trend, from the blaze across Yosemite National Park in California to others hitting the USA. We review some of the headlines from July that have had the most significant impact on the environment and local air quality.
  • Community Spotlight: West Coast Calibration Factor Study

    Each time a PurpleAir sensor is installed, and air quality data is uploaded to the PurpleAir Map, the quality and reach of our community increases. In this post, we highlight the results from a scientific study and discuss what it means in the bigger picture. The network improves with each additional sensor, and studies like the one in this post are also part of the PurpleAir story.
  • Indoor vs Outdoor Air Quality – What’s the Difference?

    Since air is fluid, it can flow in and out of our homes, sometimes bringing pollutants with it. Thanks to the PurpleAir indoor and outdoor sensors, you can quickly compare air quality around you to make the best decision for your home or office. 
  • Fireworks Today – Can We Do Better?

    There's no doubt that large, night-sky-filled fireworks are dramatic and thrilling. From the immense splashes of colors streaking across the sky to the booms of massive explosions that send sparkles in all directions, fireworks have a unique place in people's hearts. For many, celebrations like 4th of July just feel right if they're capped with dramatic fireworks that get the heart racing. But is that enough? Is the cost too high? Let's see if we can do better.