Health messages are key to the effectiveness of an AQI. The development of the health risk based index involves the crafting of descriptive and prescriptive messages which inform and empower citizens to takes steps to protect their health and reduce their contribution to the air quality burden. The paper will explain the strategy being employed to develop these messages and integrate them into the presentation of the AQI.
The fact that health effects of some pollutants can be experienced at very low levels increases the importance of timely and accurate air quality forecasts to help citizens take action to protect their health. This paper also deals with the forecasting concerns which will accompany the implementation of a new national AQI program for Canada.