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It’s Easy to Check the Air Quality

Meet the people collecting that data for you

When the smoke from eastern Canadian wildfires smothered much of Canada and the American East Coast this summer, it resurfaced a distant memory for Gus Sentementes. The last time smoke descended on his home in Baltimore, Maryland, was in 2002, when fires in Quebec spread smoke more than 700 miles southward.

But this summer was different. The smoke lingered longer and spread farther. It also created quite a stir in areas that are not used to being that close to the effects of a cataclysmic wildfire. The world is warming, extreme heat is spawning hellish blazes, and even those not in the immediate vicinity are feeling their effects far downwind. Sentementes felt like this wasn’t just a fluke—something that affected his life every 20 years or so. This felt like something that would likely happen again, and soon.

Like anyone who breathes (i.e., everybody), air quality always felt somewhat important to Sentementes. He has three kids, one of whom has asthma. Sentementes himself uses a sleep apnea machine at night. When the sky turned orange and taking a breath felt like sucking in a campfire, Sentementes decided it was time to learn more about how his air quality was changing. He bought a PurpleAir sensor that lets him monitor the air quality outside his house in real time and share the data on the internet, where it gets pooled with other sensor readings from down the street, across town and around the world.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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