Current New York City Air Quality (2023 Live Readings)
On the most polluted day in June 2023, NYC had the worst air quality in the world, with PM2.5 levels reaching over 300 micrograms due to the wildfire in Canada. The sky turned hazy orange. This means that PM2.5 concentrations in New York City exceeded the WHO annual limit of 5.0 micrograms by 60 times. The AQI is at a hazardous level, triggering air quality alerts and health warnings for emergency conditions.
Current Air Quality in New York City
Air Quality Map
Live New York City, New York AQI air quality map updated hourly.
81% Of Days in NYC More Polluted Than WHO Target
During 2022, 81% of days exceeded the WHO annual limit. 19% of days fell within the safe limit of 5 micrograms. That means outdoor air in New York City was considered safe for just 1 in 5 days during 2022.
New York City PM2.5 Concentrations: 2023 – Year to Date
So far in 2023, New York City’s PM2.5 concentrations have averaged 11.0 micrograms. That’s 17% higher than the previous year.
Is New York City Air Quality Improving?
Historical air quality (AQI) data for New York City over the past 4 years (2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022) shows that air quality has slightly improved. This is good news for air breathers in New York City. Looking at just the past year, from 2021 to 2022, PM2.5 concentrations improved by 57%.
Thursday is the Most Polluted Day of the Week in New York City
Thursdays are the most polluted day of the week in New York City. PM2.5 levels on an average Thursday reach 12.7 micrograms. That’s 8% higher than the least polluted day – Sunday. On Sunday, PM2.5 air pollution averages 11.8 micrograms.
On average, Thursdays see PM2.5 pollution that’s a little under 3 times the WHO limit. For Sundays – the least polluted day – PM2.5 air pollution is over 2 times.
Why Is the Air Quality Bad Today in NYC?
Right now, wildfires smoke is causing New York’s air quality to be hazardous and triggering air quality alerts to every east coast citizen. This is the worst outbreak of wildfire smoke in North America in more than 20 years. Wildfire smoke can travel long distances from Canada, bringing with it PM2.5 to the city of New York.
Learn more: how far can wildfire smoke travel
Air pollution levels can change quickly, with levels often varying widely throughout the day. Data shows there even appears to be times of the day where air pollution tends to be lower compared to other times.
Below shows how PM2.5 air quality levels changes on the most polluted day in NYC.
How Wildfires Affect NYC’s Air Pollution Levels
Outside of weather, wildfires are another factor that can significantly affect New York City’s air quality. The worst wildfires typically occur in the months of June to September. In June of 2023, wildfire smoke from Canada reached NYC, and NYC air quality reached its worse levels in years.
Below shows how wildfires in June of 2023 affected air quality levels all across the east coast.
New York City Air Pollution: The Negative Health Effects
This analysis of New York City’s air quality is based on PM2.5 pollution. These are particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter that can penetrate deep into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream.
Studies have shown that PM2.5 raises blood pressure, inflammation, and rates of heart attacks and strokes.
WATCH: Why Is PM2.5 So Harmful to Us?
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Protect Your Health in NYC From Air Pollution and Wildfire Smoke
Despite the harms of PM2.5 that is in wildfire smoke and air pollution, placebo-controlled studies of air purifiers have found that removing particulate in the home has positive effects on blood pressure, inflammation, and immune response.
Smart Air provides the world’s most cost-effective, data-backed air purifiers to help air-breathers protect themselves and their family. Smart Air is a certified B Corp founded to publicize the simple science behind air purifiers and masks, thereby lowering the cost of breathing clean air.