Useful references

by Ron Hartling

Current and Recent Ontario Particulate Concentrations

  • I have found this to be the most useful of the available views of Kingston PM2.5 readings, covering the most recent 3-day period.
  • You can choose to view it either as a table or a graph,
  • Readings taken on the hour, every hour are automatically available 20 minutes later
  • To see the full three days, choose the day before yesterday and then press the Refresh Page button
  • If you live somewhere in Ontario other than Kingston, click on the above link, then on the “Choose station” dropdown. Pick whichever of Ontario’s 38 air quality sensor stations is nearest to you and then on the “Refresh Page” button.  Finally, save that page as a Favorite for ease of future reference. Most of the other information on this site will be equally relevant to you. For a general sense of your area’s air quality compared to Kingston’s, click on the “Evidence” menu item above and refer to the first table of annual average readings.

North American Particulate Concentrations

  • This interactive map is published by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and predicts PM2.5 concentrations for today and, optionally, tomorrow.
  • Whenever Kingston winds are coming from the south, southeast and sometimes east, it constitutes an excellent predictor of our PM2.5 levels.
  • It uses its own Air Quality Index (AQI), which doesn’t directly translate into PM2.5 readings. Click on the tiny “show green contours” check box within the Contours box to the left on both the Current and Forecast tabs to view their “Good” regions with PM2.5 readings anywhere between one and the grossly inadequate US standard of 12µg/m3. Angry yellow is what they term Moderate, which is PM2.5 readings between 12 and 35.5, the upper range of which we would consider unhealthy for at-risk people.  Orange (35.5 through 55.4) is likewise unhealthy for at-risk.

Firesmoke Canada Predictive Model

  • An interactive, animated 48-hour prediction of North American smoke concentrations which, during wildfire season, provides an excellent current overview of major, smoke-filled air masses such as those described above.
  • Controls at the bottom left allow you to control the speed, pause and scroll to a particular day and time
  • Click three times on “+” button at the upper right of the window to zoom in sufficiently to see Kingston, and drag the map to centre Kingston on your screen.

Ontario Air Quality Health Index

  • A simplied 1 to 10 scale which is based on a complex formula for aggregating a number of different airborne pollutants.
  • Given that PM2.5 is the most dangerous of smoke fire airial pollutants and the only one for which we can realistically limit our exposure, the mixed AQHI index is arguably less pertinent than current MP2.5 measures for determining how best to protect one’s health.
  • The index is updated hourly. Scroll down the page to view the Kingston entry.

WHO global air quality guidelines

  • The most authoritative, evidence-based summary of credible guidelines for improving air quality and therefore health outcomes.
  • Published September 22, 2021.

American Lung Association on Particle Pollution

Wildfire smoke, air quality and your health

  • This is the official Government of Canada information and advice on living with wildfire-infused air.

Assessing the health burden from air pollution

  • Published in the April 4, 2024 issue of the journal Science.
  • A powerful, clearly written summary of the latest research understanding the very serious health impacts of PM2.5 and other airborne pollutants at concentrations even modestly exceeding the WHO standard.
  • WHO stresses that these are not thresholds but levels above which serious health effects occur with high certainty. This means that even below these levels, health effects can be observed and need to be considered when estimating the burden of disease on society and health care systems.”