Salt Lake City air quality exceeded the WHO annual limits on more than one-third of days from 2020 to 2021. Due to wildfire smoke from wildfires out west, Salt Lake City air quality averaged nearly 3 times the WHO daily recommended limit of dangerous PM2.5 pollutants on its worse day in 2021.
Current Air Quality in Salt Lake City
37% Of Days in Salt Lake City More Polluted Than WHO Target
Salt Lake City’s daily air quality levels exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) annual limit on 37% of days in 2020-2021. The PM2.5 AQI went beyond the limit on most days in many areas of the city between July and October due to wildfire smoke.
Historical Air Quality Readings for Salt Lake City
Is Salt Lake City Air Quality Improving?
In the last three years, data shows that air quality in Salt Lake City has worsened. From 2019 to 2021, Salt Lake City saw a 18.1% increase in PM2.5 levels. While the annual air pollution still remains below the WHO recommended limit, Salt Lake City’s PM2.5 levels are approaching the limit.
Why Is the Air Quality Bad Today in Salt Lake City?
Weather plays a big role in how the air quality is in Salt Lake City 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, Salt Lake City PM2.5 AQI levels will not follow this trend every day.
How Wildfires Out West Affect Salt Lake City’s Air Pollution Levels
Outside of weather, wildfires are another factor that can significantly affect Salt Lake City’s air quality. The worst wildfires typically occur in the months of June to September. Wildfire smoke from California and Oregon can and has travelled all the way to cities as far Salt Lake City.
Below shows how wildfires in September of 2020 affected air quality levels all across the west coast.
Salt Lake City Air Pollution: The Negative Health Effects
This analysis of Salt Lake 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 Salt Lake City 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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