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EPA’s Air Quality App Is More Popular Than Facebook Right Now

New York City claims the title of having the worst air quality of any city on Earth Wednesday due to smoke from Canadian wildfires.

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 People wear masks as they wait for the tramway to Roosevelt Island as smoke from Canadian wildfires casts a haze over the area on June 7, 2023 in New York City.
Wearing a mask helps to some small extent, but if you can stay inside during this air quality crisis, you should.
Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez (Getty Images)

The sky above New York City glows with a menacing orange color akin to the desert wasteland seen in films like Mad Max: Fury Road. With Canadian wildfires bringing a haze down onto the northeast U.S., users have helped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality app climb to be one of the world’s most-popular iPhone applications.

As of Wednesday afternoon ET, the EPA’s AIRNow app sat at number 13 most downloaded free apps on the App Store for iPhone. This made it more popular than Netflix, Cash App, Snapchat, Telegram, and Facebook.


So if the hell-like orange glow wasn’t enough to keep you inside, maybe the official air quality index will.


According to data from IQAir, New York City’s air quality has become the worst of any city on Earth. The Air Quality Index for NYC currently hovers around a “Hazardous” rating of 342, which is consistent with the EPA’s own measurements last tested at 3 p.m. ET. Local air testing stations shown by Google data rank the New York metropolitan area’s air quality from the low 200s up to around 290 in parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan, which is ranked as “Very unhealthy” and could cause serious health effects to people, especially those with respiratory issues.

More than 400 wildfires in Canada are impacting most of the country’s provinces and territories. According to AP, more than 20,000 people have been displaced by the blazes. Canadian officials have declared this summer season could be the worst period of wildfires in the country’s history, and more than 100 fires currently burning around the province of Quebec are currently out of control.

The wildfires have also impacted the northern parts of the midwest. Cincinnati, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana are both experiencing unhealthy levels of air pollution, as of reporting.


Wildfires often result in serious air quality problems. The Pacific northwest has dealt with this issue for years. Last year’s wildfires across the region resulted in Portland, Oregon briefly taking the title for worst air quality in the world.

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