Apps to Avoid Air Pollution

According to senior mobile insights analyst Jonathan Briskman of Sensor Tower, the top-rated apps for outdoor air quality monitoring in the U.S. between January 2020 and July 2021 have been: AirCare, AirVisual, and South Coast AQMD, based on ratings from the App Store and Google Play.

1. AirCare

AirCare, made by developers in Northern Macedonia, is available for iOS and Android mobile devices, including iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, and Huawei smartphones, among many others.

Tiers include a free, ad-supported version, a 99 cents ad-free version, and at the premium level, a $14.99 annual subscription for a pro-version.

2. AirVisual

AirVisual, made by the Swiss air quality company IQAir, tracks air pollution in more than 10,000 cities and 80 countries, drawing on data from tens of thousands of sensors, some positioned at U.S. embassies overseas.

The company’s free mobile apps are also ad-free and available for iOS and Android devices. The apps can pair with the company’s own sensors, including the portable AirVisual Pro, sold for around $269.

3. South Coast AQMD

South Coast AQMD is a free and ad-free app run by the local air pollution agency in Southern California of the same name and tracks air pollution across Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino, specifically.

The scientists wrote in an e-mail to CNBC: “Americans living in poor air quality areas tend to be people of color or low-income communities. We are finally starting to pay more attention to these issues, which hopefully will lead to change. The air pollution composition is also changing.”

With increased wildfires, the scientists wrote, “The sources and composition of the air pollution mixture that we are experiencing could differently impact our health, so we need to better understand source-specific effects, especially for these newly prominent sources.”

Influences of Air Pollution on Human Health

Postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Yanelli Nunez, explains why measuring and monitoring air quality is so important to the public’s health.

She cites research showing that air pollution increases the risk of developing lung cancer, COPD, and bronchitis, and can even affect mortality, pregnancy outcomes, and cardiovascular disease.

As a coworker of Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou’s, Nunez does research in the field of environmental health sciences. Long-term exposure to air pollution, according to their findings, can have an effect on the nervous system, which could then have repercussions for things like memory and cognitive ability.

In an e-mail to CNBC, the researchers said, “Americans living in poor air quality places tend to be individuals of minority or low-income groups.” Hopefully, the increased focus on these problems will prompt action. Even the chemical make-up of air pollution is shifting.