Air Factor FAQ

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Answers to frequently asked questions regarding a property’s Air Factor.


Air FactorTM is part of Risk FactorTM, a free online tool created by First Street that makes it easy for Americans to find their property’s exposure to poor air quality and understand how poor air quality effects will change over time due to changes in the environment. As global temperatures rise at the fastest rates ever recorded, it's important to understand what factors contribute to poor air quality risk. Use Risk Factor to find property-specific air quality risk assessments for any U.S. address.


What is Air Factor?

A property's Air Factor is an indicator of its risk experiencing poor air quality days over the next thirty years.  The model assigns each property an Air Factor, ranging from 1 (minimal risk) to 10 (extreme risk). Air Factors are based on a property’s current and future risk two major criteria pollutants - particulate matter (PM2.5) and Ozone due to a changing environment. A changing environment means warmer and drier conditions that increase the likelihood of wildfire smoke and the formation of ozone which contributes to poor air quality days. Learn more about the environmental factors increasing air quality risk.

How accurate is Air Factor?

The peer-reviewed First Street Air Quality Model considers how likely a location is to experience wildfires and conditions favorable to ozone formation due to climate change impacts. For every location, the likely exposure to poor air quality days is calculated for today and 30 years into the future, and takes into account the local conditions such as higher temperatures and lower humidity. The First Street Air Quality Model (FS-AQM) brought together top climate scientists, modelers, engineers, technologists, and analysts. Results of the model have been compared against historical air quality observations at regulatory grade EPA measurement stations to ensure scientific accuracy wherever possible. Using Open Science protocols, all methods used by the First Street Air Quality Model have been published or submitted to scientific journals and are open to review on the Risk Factor website.Learn more on First Street


How can I remove a property’s Air Factor?

Air Factor is a product of First Street, an institution committed to making climate risk information accessible.  We are committed to the accuracy of our data and we’re continuously working to refine the Air Quality Model methodology and incorporate new information into Air Factor. When additional information is submitted, it is reviewed, and if appropriate, incorporated into the model, and shown on Risk Factor during a scheduled update. 

However, Air Factors are not assigned on a one-off basis, rather they’re derived from the inputs that go into the Air Quality Model. These inputs come from publicly available data, therefore, properties or scores cannot be adjusted on a one-off basis directly through Risk Factor. The only way a property’s Air Factor can change is if new information is submitted that changes the underlying inputs used in the Air Quality Model. We encourage you to share information that may impact the inputs used in our air by submitting a request.

How often is Air Factor updated?

The Risk Factor team is continuously working to refine the Air Model methodology and incorporate new information into Air Factor. While the Air Factor experience is updated regularly, a full Air Model refresh occurs annually. Sign up for our newsletter to learn about updates as they become available.

How can I reduce my risk? 

While you can’t prevent poor air quality days from occurring, there are simple, cost-effective ways to protect your property to minimize risks and stay safe indoors. Being prepared will allow you and your loved ones to remain safe during poor air quality events. 

Installing an effective filtration system, including air purifiers in every room and upgrading the building seal are all strategies you can take to protect from poor air quality. Learn more.

What are the risks from poor air quality? 

Air pollution does not affect everyone the same way. Depending on the state of their health, some people are more vulnerable to illness and mortality from air pollution than others. Adults with health conditions may experience a decline in lung function and an increase in asthma attacks. Adults with cardiovascular disease may experience a rise in heart attacks and a decrease in life expectancy. COPD patients may experience reduced lung capacity and worsening symptoms. Learn more.

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