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March 2022 Air Quality Measured

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Researching With Rachel

Rachel White Roy, MPH, Ph.D.

Rachel became interested in researching the relationship between environmental exposures and poor health outcomes in 2017 while studying for her master’s in public health. While studying for her Ph.D., Rachel connected with Achieving Community Tasks Successfully (ACTS) to learn from the organization and engage in environmental justice efforts. ACTS was a perfect fit because her grandparents raised her father in Pleasantville, the community that ACTS primarily serves, and she has spent a great deal of time in Pleasantville throughout her life.

Pleasantville has been impacted by pollution and industrial encroachment for many years. Rachel was even exposed to a warehouse fire of toxic chemicals in Pleasantville in 1995. As a board member of ACTS, she provides epidemiology subject matter expertise and analysis skills to help ACTS identify trends in harmful air pollution, assists with their ongoing efforts to hold polluters accountable, and supports disaster preparedness and recovery efforts in the community.


What's in Our Air

To better understand where pollution in their community may be coming from, ACTS applied for and received grant funding to initiate a community air monitoring network. Seven Clarity monitors measuring AQI, PM2.5, and NO2 have been placed in the Pleasantville and Clinton Park areas to monitor the outdoor air conditions in these communities. The goal of this project is to look for trends in air quality and help the Pleasantville and Clinton Park communities monitor their outdoor air exposure and associated health conditions. The analysis includes determining the percentage of time that the community is exceeding the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) yearly and daily standards, determining the percentage of time that the community is exceeding levels that researchers have determined result in poor health outcomes, and times of the day and days of the week when these concerning measurements are occurring to potentially identify the source. The analysis is also meant to inform residents of when their air quality is dangerous and when they should take precautions while outdoors. This information will be updated monthly on the ACTS website.

For questions please email:

Pleasantville identified air quality as one of the top priority

The residents of Pleasantville identified air quality as one of the top five priorities for the community in January 2018. By November 2019, the community-led air monitoring network was being implemented. Today the network consists of a total of 8 low-cost monitors measuring both particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Monthly reports are generated to document air quality measurements. This information is also available on the website. You can find out more by clicking here.

What are some of the advantages/benefits of being able to access this air monitoring information:

  • Residents have 24-hour internet access to view the devices.
  • Color coding allows easy identification for readings.
  • End users can create graphs
  • The data has led to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) delegated state agency by the EPA is supporting placing a federal equivalent monitor (FEM) in the Pleasantville community by December 2022.


Figure 1a shows the daily average PM2.5 and Figure 1b shows the daily average AQI levels over the month of March. The scale and color gradient to the right of each calendar plot are provided as references. For example, March 2nd and 18th have the highest reading of both PM2.5 and AQI. The daily average PM2.5 was above 18 μg/m³ on this date while the daily average AQI was above 65 on this date.

It is important to note that AQI is calculated to provide a more easily understood scale for citizens to identify the risks that air pollution poses to their environment. AQI is calculated based onPM2.5 and this is why there are similar trends seen.



Figure 2: Percentage of all hourly PM2.5 measurements in March by level.

In Figure 2, the percentages for all ACTS monitors are calculated by dividing the number of measurements in the given range by the total number of measurements in March. For the Clinton reference monitor, the percentage was calculated the same, but instead using the total number of measurements from the Clinton monitor only. Published literature notesevidence for health impacts at PM2.5 levels as low as 8μg/m³.

In March, PM2.5 was above 8μg/m³ 77% of the time in Pleasantville and Clinton park.

Figure 3

Time Series PM2.5 Daily Average Measurements March 2022
Figure 3: Time Series PM2.5 Measurements in March 2022

Figure 3 depicts the hourly and daily average time series for PM2.5 during March. Daily averages diminish spikes but provide a better view of trends.

Figure 4

Figure 4: Percentage of hourly AQI Measurements in March 2022 by level


Graph 4

Graph/Figure 5

Figure 5: Time series AQI measurements March 2022.

Figure 5 depicts the hourly and daily average time series for AQI during March. Daily averages diminish spikes but provide a better view of the trend.


Air Quality Index Project Team

For your conveniently ACTS have embedded the Air Quality Index Project & Clarity Project below in our website. Now you are able have the very latest in technology on air quality monitoring at your figure tips. Don’t forget to use the scroll bar to the left of the page to scroll down to additional helpful information related to air quality monitoring.

Clarity Project of

AQI or Air Quality Index Project of

If you have any questions on how to read these maps or just how you can pitch in to make things better; contact us at