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article imageHow healthy is the air in your town? New web tool reveals all

By Elizabeth Batt     Apr 14, 2012 in Environment
Orono - How green is your valley? Now you can find out with 10Green, a new web tool that scores air quality based on measurements of pollutants considered the most threat to human health.
And the 10Green interactive web tool is a rather nifty gadget. All that's needed is a zip code, that when entered, returns with a 0-10 health score taken from measurements during the last year, within 100 miles of the center of the town.
In practice, the tool, developed by the Climate Change Institute and the School of Computing and Information Sciences at the University of Maine, and Garrand, is simple to use. 10Green uses 10 air quality measures representing the most significant threats to human health and pits them against the strictest health standards from U.S. environmental monitoring programs such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, European Commission, California Environmental Protection Agency, Health Canada, and the World Health Organization.
Measured pollutants such as carbon monoxide, large and small particulates, ozone, sulfur dioxide and heavy metals are rated and revealed as unhealthy (red) or healthy (green) for your particular area. Taking it one step further, current scores can be measured against past health scores for comparison, and even against other locations.
Take Los Angeles, CA, for example, which received a 3/10 score. The higher the score, the better the air quality. LA is currently testing healthy for carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants, but tested unhealthy for large and small particulates, heavy metals, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone. Past health scores can be traced back to before 1984.
Dr. Paul Mayewski, the director of the Climate Change Institute said, "people have so much information at their fingertips. It is hard to make sense of all of the data, so we wanted to give people a useful tool that helps them easily understand the implications of climate change and air pollution."
Motivated by years of scientific research into climate change10Green leverages decades of ice core research to promote understanding of how the chemistry of Earth's atmosphere has changed as a consequence of human activities. Mayewski added:
"If you care about the health of your body, chances are you know your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and if you care about your financial health, you probably know your credit score, but if you care about the environment where you live and work, how do you measure the health of your community? We created 10Green to be a place where you can easily learn about the health of the environment in your community."
So just how green is your valley? Take the test at 10Green.org to find out.
More about Environmental pollution, 10green, Air quality testing
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