With every breath we take, our lungs are exposed to the world around us, filtering over 11,000 liters of air each day. Air pollution hurts the body both by inflaming and destroying lung tissue and by weakening the lungs' defenses against contaminants and infection.
Some people are more likely to experience negative health effects from breathing polluted air based on factors such as age and health status. For example, children are at higher risk because their lungs are still developing and they breathe 50% more air, per pound of body weight, than adults. Older adults are considered higher risk because their immune systems may be compromised.
Thanks to decades of hard work and technological advances, air quality in the Spokane region is good on most days. However, there are days when the air can be unhealthy to breathe, as has been the case during summer wildfire smoke events.
Air Pollutants of Concern
In the Spokane region there are two pollutants of primary concern, fine particles and ground-level ozone. While industry contributes to about 20% of our air pollution, most of it comes from individual actions related to how we travel and heat our homes. Air quality in the Spokane region tends to decline during the winter heating season and during the hot, summer months.
You can help
We all have a role in maintaining clean, healthful air quality. Whether at home, at work, or somewhere in between, there are ways to reduce your contribution to air pollution all year long! Click on a category for ways your can help reduce air pollution.
Air Quality Monitoring
Agency staff operate a network of air quality monitoring stations located throughout Spokane County. Information collected is used to provide daily air quality forcasts, to notify the community when air quality is approaching unhealthful levels, and to identify potential pollution problems and solutions.
- Quick link: Monthly air quality summaries
Air Quality Standards and Plans
The U.S. EPA sets national, ambient air quality standards for six criteria pollutants. The purpose of these standards is to prevent air pollution from reaching levels that harm public health and welfare. In the past, Spokane has been in nonattainment for carbon monoxide (CO) and Particulate Matter (PM10).
The Federal Clean Air Act requires states to develop plans for protecting and maintaining air quality in all areas of the state. It also requires states to develop specific plans for bringing nonattainment areas back into attainment. The plans are called State Implementation Plans (SIPs). Click here for more information, including plans and documents related to Spokane's CO and PM10 SIPs.
Air Quality Publications
Educational Resources, Community Outreach
We spread our clean air message by participating in community events, working with the media, and presenting at various business and non-profit group meetings. In addition to our community-wide outreach efforts, we offer educational resources for area students and teachers from kindergarten through high school. We also offer programs to youth organizations and summer camps.
Special Studies and Reports
Historic trends, air quality reports, emissions inventories, data summaries, State Implementation Plans and Maintenance Plans, and air quality-related maps are available here.