Wisconsin Tracking provides information about air quality in Wisconsin. “Air pollution” means something in the air that should not be there – or should be there in smaller amounts.¹
We host data on air quality measures that have standard levels defined by the federal government. These measures include particulate matter under 2.5 microns (PM2.5) and ozone. Wisconsin Tracking gets information about these air pollution measures from air monitoring stations all over Wisconsin.
For more information about types of air pollution, visit the air quality issues page.
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What are air pollutants?
Air pollutants are substances in the air that should not be there – or should be there in smaller amounts. These unwanted substances might be gases, liquids, or solids.
Where does air pollution come from?
Many air pollutants result from human activities such as smoking, driving, manufacturing, and burning wood or coal. Pollution can also come from natural events such as wildfires.
How am I exposed to air pollution?
You can be exposed to pollutants from the air by breathing in contaminated air or inhaling contaminated dust particles.
What are the health effects of air pollution?
Air pollution is associated with lung and heart problems. It is also associated with asthma and can aggravate conditions such as emphysema. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a full list of the health effects of particulate matter and ozone.
How do I know if I am at risk?
The first step is to know if you live in an area of the state that has high levels of pollution. Accessing the Wisconsin Tracking air pollution data will tell you how your community is doing over time. Additional information can be found on the Wisconsin DNR website.
If you are concerned about your personal risk, you can contact Wisconsin Tracking or your regional Department of Natural Resources office. You can also view daily current air quality information for Wisconsin or a map of current air quality for selected counties.
For which air pollutants does Wisconsin Tracking have data?
Wisconsin Tracking focuses on pollutants that are regulated by the United States government. The government regulates these pollutants through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides standards for air quality. The DNR gathers data on emissions using a number of monitoring stations around Wisconsin. Wisconsin Tracking provides access to this data to the general public.
Data for two important types of air pollution is available at our public data portal:
- Particulate matter under 2.5 microns (PM2.5)
Can individuals use Wisconsin Tracking data to see if they have been exposed to air pollution?
The science that links air pollution to health and disease is complex. We do not suggest that you use Wisconsin Tracking data to look for specific links between your health and your environment. This is because a number of factors – such as time and other exposures – can be important. The data on our public data portal only provides a general level of pollution for different regions of Wisconsin over longer periods of time. Thus, these data cannot be used to adequately assess individual risks. These data can tell you if the level of air pollution in your area of the state is changing over time.
Where can I learn more about air pollution?
¹US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
²National Ambient Air Quality Standard set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)