New Air Quality Program Helps Wheat Ridge Stay Healthy

Those that call Wheat Ridge home love that the city is so convenient. The proximity and ease of a commute to the city or the mountains or anywhere between makes life a breeze. The downside to that is the fact that the geography of our city places us at some risk for poor air quality. 

Well, how bad is the air quality here? The Jefferson County Love My Air Program aims to answer that very question.  

Jessica Hymer, dedicated environmental justice coordinator at Jefferson County Public Health explains why this program is important. 

“The initiative was brought to the JCPH health equity team to ensure that we are focusing on disproportionately impacted communities when addressing environmental health concerns,” Hymer said. “It is part of our county climate action plan which looks to initiate programs and focus on the communities that need the most support.”

The strategic placement of these new devices paired with the easy to use dashboard for citizens, found at, makes monitoring the air quality of the community a breeze.

Of the ten monitors that the county was granted, our community has five in place. In Wheat Ridge there is one at the Wheat Ridge Rec Center, and another at Panorama park. Edgewater has the other three, with one at the Civic Center, another at the Edgewater Collective site and the third at Jefferson Junior/Senior high school. 

The monitors, which were awarded to the county through a grant provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, measure pm 2.5 pollutant particulate. Hymer explains that the microscopic size makes it so that the particles are easily inhaled.

When inhaled, these particles can cause respiratory inflammation, coughing, asthma, shortness of breath and can promote lung diseases and cancers, according to the National Institutes of Health. The impacts can be more severe for people with preexisting conditions, Hymer said. 

The Love My Air program has just begun in Jeffco, however, Denver has been participating much longer with very positive reception and success. 

“In Jeffco, we had no monitors prior to these devices other than some basic ozone monitors,” Hymer said. “Nothing was as precise and as specific as these.” 

On the dashboard, users can select a particular sensor to check out that sensor’s air quality in an easy-to-read meter. Next to the reading there is a box with a call to action based on the pollution levels, which shows what activities are safe at the current air quality level.

“We are hopeful that this is a way to help people be empowered to monitor their health and make safe choices,” Hymer said. “The program aims to educate and provide a resource with up-to-date, real time air quality. As we work toward creating better air quality overall, the first step is to be able to accurately track the data. These monitors will help us in that as well as creating an educational opportunity for the communities that need it the most.”

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