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Air Quality Awareness

Dust storms originating in the deserts of central Asia blow across the Korean peninsula and the Sea of Japan. These storms tend to occur in late winter or early spring and are sometimes referred to as Yellow Dust, Yellow Sand, Kosa, Hwangsa, and Dust and Sand Storm (DSS). This dust contains very fine particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less (referred to as PM2.5 or Particulate Matter 2.5) which have the potential to affect air quality in China, Korea and Japan. Similar particles are found in emissions from burning wood, motor vehicles, power plants and other industrial activities.

Air Quality Awareness

24-hr Average
PM2.5 Level
( µg/m3)

 Risk Code Maximum
Hourly PM2.5 Level (µg/m3)

Recommended Guidance 
0-35.9 Normal 0-69.9 Normal outdoor activities
36.0-69.9 Moderate 70.0-84.9 Persons with diagnosed cardio or respiratory sensitivities should consider reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor activity
>70.0 High >85 All personnel should consider minimizing prolonged outdoor activity. Person with diagnosed cardio or respiratory sensitivities should remain indoors where possible

How do these dust storms and particulate matter affect me and my family?
People with heart disease or lung conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may experience an increase in symptoms following a dust storm. If you have any of these problems you should minimize time outside during periods of poor air quality to limit your inhalation of fine dust. Let your health care provider know if you experience difficulty breathing or notice any unusual increase in your typical respiratory symptoms.

How will the base provide notification of unhealthy air quality levels?
Command Post will send an alert message, using ADHOC notification system, to Base personnel and notify DoDDS and various other agencies. Public Affairs will provide announcement via Kadena AB Facebook page.

How can I protect myself if air quality is unhealthy?
If air quality is unhealthy, the best action is to remain indoors or minimize prolonged/heavy outside physical activity, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are sensitive to particulate matter (see recommended guidance in the table). Dust masks will not provide adequate protection.

How do I know if my family and I are sensitive to particulate matter?
This determination can be made in consultation with a qualified medical professional. If you have concerns regarding the impact of dust storms on your health, please contact your health care provider.

Japanese Web Resources with Available Translation
(Note: Translations are subject to the limitations of the software/ website)

Japanese Ministry of Regional Air Pollutant Monitoring System (AEROS): http://soramame.taiki.go.jp/DataList.php?MstCode=47211050
(For translated version click here)

Okinawa (All Installations): http://www.pref.okinawa.jp/site/kankyo/hozen/taiki/pm25.html
(For translated version click here)