DOH releases raw air quality data from samples taken in fire-impacted areas on Maui

DOH warns that the data released is “preliminary” and “unvalidated.”
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 5:18 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 12, 2023 at 7:38 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Health released on Monday raw air quality data of Lahaina and Upcountry Maui after receiving access from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

DOH warns that the data released is “preliminary” and “unvalidated” but they’re releasing the raw data out in the interest of transparency.

They said that “typically, preliminary data is not released as it has not undergone finalization by the lab” and “quality assurance validation by an independent third-party.”

EPA collected over 100 samples in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui areas.

Researchers measured for chemicals like lead, arsenic, asbestos and benzene at multiple locations in Lahaina and Kula, including King Kamehameha the Third Elementary and Gateway Center.

To view the raw air quality data, click the following links:

DOH says in the meantime, they are working with the EPA to analyze and interpret the data.

“We understand there is a risk of confusion by releasing preliminary data and without a summary,” said Director of Health Dr. Kenneth Fink. “But we are providing it to the public in the interest of transparency and we’ll work on releasing a summary as soon as possible.”

Officials say it’s too early to draw conclusions and the data validation process could take several weeks.

In addition to the lab testing, EPA and DOH installed several sensors in fire-impacted areas to scan for “very fine, dust-like material” like ash and dust.

Health officials also warn that the readings are for ambient air quality. That could change if burned debris and dust are churned up and become airborne.

Masks and other personal protective equipment continue to be recommended.

Air quality data can be viewed at the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map by clicking here.