Breathe happy, breathe healthy

A chart of the outdoor air quality policy at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (Courtesy photo)
A chart of the outdoor air quality policy at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (Courtesy photo)

Breathe happy, breathe healthy

by Airman 1st Class Ilyana A. Escalona
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Upon arriving to Osan Air Base, personnel are given a brief rundown about the air quality in the Republic of Korea.

According to the 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron’s bioenvironmental engineering flight, the air quality in the ROK is monitored for six pollutants: PM10, PM2.5, O3, NO2, SO2 and CO.

The primary focus here at Osan is PM2.5, which are fine particles (2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller), which come from power plants, industrial processes, vehicle tailpipes, woodstoves and wildfires.

PM2.5 particle pollution is linked to a number of health problems including, coughing, wheezing, reduced lung function, asthma attacks, and more.

To combat these health risks and reduce your exposure to poor air quality, members are advised to utilize mobile apps that send updated statistics for current air quality conditions. Members are also advised to reschedule or shorten outdoor activities especially when the air quality is reported to be very unhealthy.

A policy memo signed June 2017 by the 51st Fighter Wing commander authorizes the wear of an N95 or KF94 respirator when the air quality index is reported as very unhealthy or higher. Masks are required to be all black or all white for Airmen in uniform.

Armed with knowledge and preparation, Airmen and their families will be best able to protect themselves from the elements while stationed in the ROK.

For more information about the air quality, call 784-2623, download a mobile air quality indicator app such as Air Visual, Naver or Breezometer, or research your local air quality levels.

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