UCLA has unveiled a new, free, smartphone app that allows
users to check air quality the way they normally scan weather forecasts.
AirForU is available for both the iPhone and Android. The app delivers local air-quality measurements directly to the user’s phone, and provides real-time updates every hour and a prediction for the next day.
Asthmatics, families planning a trip to a playground, people who exercise outside, and anyone else concerned with air quality can use the app to make decisions about where and whether to go outdoors, according to UCLA Health.
“I depend on the AirForU app now, and I use it every time I plan on
running,” said Yareli Sanchez, a Los Angeles jogger who helped test the application. “The app is really convenient for helping me manage my asthma and minimize my exposure to pollution.”
Using GPS data to give local air quality ratings, the app can be used
throughout the country and could be especially useful during fire seasons, according to UCLA.
The app draws data from monitors set up nationwide and tracked by the Environmental Protection Agency. Users can also search for air quality in specific cities or zip codes, and push notifications alert the user air pollution if becomes unhealthy for sensitive groups.
The app provides a six-level air quality measurement scale, from good to hazardous. Separate tabs give pointers about how to respond, for example, “reduce outdoor exertion’.’ The app shares locations of large manufacturing facilities emitting toxic chemicals nearby, and frequently asked questions.
Research has shown that poor air quality disproportionately affects
asthmatics, heart and lung disease patients, pregnant women, young children and the elderly.
UCLA doctors plan to recommend the app to patients with heart or lung problems.
AirForU is a joint project between UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and UCLA Health.
– from CNS.