Boise, the capital of Idaho, is a paradise for people who love spending time outdoors. No wonder the areas encompassing Boise are known as the treasure valley. With endless rivers, mountains, canyons, lakes, and deserts all in one place, it won’t be wrong to say it is a paradise for recreation and residents. Besides these attractive features, affordable living makes Boise the place to live your American dream. Compared to Oregon or Portland, Boise stands out when comparing how much you can save on your housing dollars. Many people are moving from California to Idaho because of the cost of living, high taxes, and shaky job market there, and their primary choice for a new home remains Boise.
Despite all these things that make Boise a dream location, there are some downsides. One of them is the air quality. But, if you already live in Boise, you would know this already.
What Is Air Quality?
Air quality is a measure of how clean or poor the air you breathe is. Therefore, keeping a check and monitoring air quality is essential because the air you breathe indefinitely affects your health.
How Is Air Quality Measured?
AQI or an air quality index measures air. It runs from 0 to 500 degrees. The changes in these numbers show the level of pollution in the air. The concentration of an air pollutant is measured in micrograms (one-millionth of a gram) per cubic meter of air or g/m3.
What Is In The Air We Breathe?
Life on earth is possible because of two gasses present in the air. These are nitrogen and oxygen. Other than these two dominating gasses, the air we breathe contains other minor gasses, including
- Carbon monoxide
- Nitrogen Dioxide
- Sulfur Dioxide
- Ground-level ozone
- Airborne particles
Ground ozone constitutes a significant threat to human health and formates from oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds. Airborne particles from aerosols and other substances released into the air are also significant contributors to smog and can cause poor visibility, breathing issues, and air pollution.
What Is The Air Quality In Boise, Idaho
Despite generally healthy air, Boise experiences an average of 2.8 harmful PM2.5 (Fine Particulate Matter). PM 2.5 is the greatest threat to Boise’s atmosphere because of its presence and effect on human health. Most studies show that PM2.5 below 12 μg/m3 is considered healthy. However, if this level exceeds 35 μg/m3, it is hazardous to health.
What Is The Air Quality Like In Boise Today?
As I wrote this article in February 2022, I checked the Boise air quality at IQAir. Boise air quality today is 4.6 times higher than the WHO annual air quality guideline. It is not a hidden fact that a city such as Boise, with excellent housing, job, and outdoor activity opportunities, faces occasional air quality issues.
Reasons Behind Poor Air Quality In Boise
Wondering “Why Is The Boise Air Quality So Bad Today?” Many factors affect Boise, Idaho’s air quality. The main contributors are emissions from vehicles and gasses emitted by the industry. While some of these emissions drift in from other cities such as Oregon, most of the pollutants get trapped and originate from the Treasure Valley. Alongside the pollution due to traffic from the growing population in Boise, the wildfire season in the western US and Canada also affects air quality. Unfortunately, Boise is expected to continue facing a high number of PM 2.5 days every year because of these factors.
Another issue Boise faces in the summer is ozone formation. Boise is located in Ada County, which receives a scarce 13 inches of rain and 16 inches of snow each year; alongside this, Boise faces around 50 days a year when temperatures rise over 90 degrees; temperatures above 84 degrees are ideal for ozone formation. All these factors contribute majorly to the poor air quality in Boise.
If you look around and see a haze wondering, ” why is it so smoky in Boise?” You may want to turn on your television and watch the news. The main reason for smoky skies is the regional forests’ wildfires that continue to spread smoke throughout Boise. Still, the main contributors are fires from the west that keep popping up with the increasing temperatures. Several thousand-acre wildfires are burning now and then, making the atmosphere hazy and the air quality poor for residents of Idaho, especially during summer and fall. Wildfire smoke can be dangerous for people with sensitive health or underlying cardiovascular conditions, not to forget pregnant women, children, and older people who are the most affected. If you want to check out the air quality in Boise, you can check this In addition, you can even visit here and check out the Boise air quality cameras. This site has webcams located in various parts of the city and gives a view of the city’s environment.
Indoor Boise Idaho Air Quality
If the outside air in Boise wasn’t a problem enough, the indoor air of your homes in Boise could be worse than what you breathe outside. Have you been thinking staying indoors keeps you safe from breathing poor air? Think again! Indoor air pollutants are mostly two to five times worse than indoor air. Breathing poor quality air can seriously impact your health, says EPA. Unfortunately, Boise’s air quality history has not changed much over the past few years. So what is it can you do to breathe safely?
Make The Air Indoors Safe
Environmental air quality may be out of your control but keeping air pollution minimum inside your homes is a first step to inhaling fresher air and keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. You live in Meridian, Idaho, and you already know about the outdoors’ air quality; what will you do? Make your home indoor air quality as pure as possible, of course.
Test Your Indoor Air Quality
The first step is to check the indoor air quality of your home. This can be done in two ways. First, air quality testing kits are available in the market. Every kit offers varying levels of accuracy readings for pollutants. Therefore, it is advisable to get the highest accuracy level kit available. Buying a DIY home air testing kit is confusing since there is a variety of kits available in the market, such as:
- Formaldehyde test kits
- Mold testing kits
- Lead testing kits
- Radon testing kits
- Organic vapor kits
If you are informed enough, you will have to decide what you want to check your indoor air for and buy a kit just for that. However, if testing or following the lengthy instructions enclosed in the kit’s leaflet overwhelms you, we recommend consulting a good air quality inspector in Boise.
Having an inspection done by a professional inspector gives you peace of mind, knowing that the reports you get are accurate and the testing has been done by a professional. In addition, it saves one from the added time invested in researching, buying, and operating the market test kits. A good air quality home inspector performs thorough testing and gives a fast turnaround for your tests in reports. All the tests go to accredited state laboratories, where they pass stringent testing to provide you with the most accurate results. What else, an inspector may even find other hazardous substances that you may be breathing in for a while and had no clue about.
When Will Boise Air Quality be Clear?
Boise’s air quality improves instantly with changing temperature conditions like wind and rain. Wind and rain disperse stagnant air and give the residents respite from the poor quality air.
When it rains, the pollutants coagulate and fall to the ground. Therefore, a consistent, substantial amount of rain is beneficial in reducing smoke and air pollutants. However, although rain droplets can still positively impact air quality, the droplets cannot trap the microscopic pollutant particles, and they will remain.
The city of Boise is working through legislation and public campaigns to encourage people to do their part in reducing pollution. This can be done by taking simple steps like idling your car in long waiting lines using fewer aerosols and other products that release toxic substances into the air. But unfortunately, air pollution can also lead to increased health risks in patients with Covid19 or those who have recovered from it and have low immunity.
Concluding, nothing is worth more than you and the health of your loved ones. Get your Boise home’s indoor air quality testing done to ensure that the air you are breathing indoors is safer than the one outside.