SE District Health Dept. installs new tool to support local air quality monitoring efforts

The Southeast District Health Department (SEDHD) announces the installation of new air quality sensors within the district. Installed in Johnson, Richardson, and Otoe counties, these sensors will help support air monitoring efforts within Nebraska to help residents make informed decisions for their health.

Air Quality and Health

The quality of air can have direct impacts on our health. No matter where you live, you can be exposed to air pollution from vehicle exhaust, smoke, road dust, industrial emissions, pollen, gas-fueled yard equipment, and other sources. The new sensors will monitor a very important component of air pollution from these sources: small particles referred to as PM2.5. These particles, measuring just 2.5 micrometers (μm) in diameter, are invisible to the human eye.

When we breathe in air pollution, which can contain these particles, they can enter the bloodstream and contribute to short-term or even long-term health effects. Short-term health effects from breathing in air pollution can include shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, wheezing, fatigue, asthma attacks, and irritation to the eyes, throat, and airways. Long-term exposure, such as for those people working outside, can increase the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, lung disease, stroke, and lung cancer. Individuals with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, heart disease, or respiratory conditions may be particularly vulnerable. Children, the elderly, and pregnant women are considered at high risk when the amount of PM2.5 particles in the air is high.

PurpleAir Sensors: Supporting Current Air Quality Monitoring Efforts

Collecting data every ten minutes, these sensors will help SEDHD monitor changes in air quality throughout the day, the season, and during the year in our communities. Information collected from the sensors is also publicly available for you to view at by clicking the “Maps and Data” tab at the top of the screen and selecting the “Fire and Smoke Map”.

The PurpleAir sensors will be part of a group of sensors across the state that are used to determine an Air Quality Index (AQI) for your area. The AQI is a measure of your air quality, which ranges from good (0-50), moderate (51-100), unhealthy for sensitive groups (101-150), unhealthy for all (151-200), very unhealthy (201-300,) and hazardous (301-500).

To view the current AQI for any given area, individuals are encouraged to visit

For more information, please contact The Southeast District Health Department at 1-877-777-0424 or visit

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