Current Portland Air Quality (2021 Wildfire Live Readings)
Portland air quality exceeded the WHO annual limits on nearly one-fifth of days from 2020 to 2021. Despite the low percentage, Portland’s air quality averaged over 40 times the WHO recommended limit of dangerous PM2.5 pollutants on its worse day in 2020.
Current Air Quality in Portland
18% Of Days in Portland More Polluted Than WHO Target
Portland’s daily air quality levels exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) annual limit on 18% of days in 2020-2021. The PM2.5 AQI reached 500 (hazardous levels) in many areas of the city in September of 2020 due to wildfire smoke.
Historical Air Quality Readings for Portland
Is Portland Air Quality Improving?
In the last three years, data shows little improvement in Portland air quality. Although 2021 saw a slight improvement of 0.37% from 2019, 2020 levels worsened from 2019 levels. Portland’s annual level of air pollution shows inconsistently with some years above the WHO recommended limit.
Why Is the Air Quality Bad Today in Portland?
Weather plays a big role in how the air quality is in Portland each day. The amount of sun can affect how much ozone there is, and wind and rain can affect PM2.5 and particulate air pollution to varying degrees.
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 around the world tend to vary throughout the day. PM2.5 levels have a tendency to be slightly lower in the afternoon compared to other times of the day. But this is a general trend, Portland PM2.5 AQI levels will not follow this trend every day.
How Wildfires Out West Affect Portland’s Air Pollution Levels
Outside of weather, wildfires are another factor that can significantly affect Portland’s air quality. The worst wildfires typically occur in the months of June to September. During the 2020 wildfire season, wildfire smoke from California and Oregon reached Portland, and Portland air quality was the worst in the world that week, causing the state of Oregon to declare an emergency.
Read More: How Wildfires in California Affect Air Pollution Levels
Below shows how wildfires in September of 2020 affected air quality levels all across the west coast.
Portland Air Pollution: The Negative Health Effects
This analysis of Portland’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 Portland 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.
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