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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pollution Report: San Francisco Can Breathe Easy. No, Really, It Can!

Posted By on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 8:15 AM

click to enlarge That's fog, not smog - GOLDEN FOG/FLICKR VIA CREATIVE COMMONS

If walking the hills of San Francisco to get to your parked car leaves you totally breathless, well, sadly, it's you, not the city.

The American Lung Association this morning released its latest air report, showing that San Francisco has some pretty damn clean air. Not only did we "pass" our annual particle pollution test, but we got an "A" on our ozone grade. That means San Francisco had no days of violations of the federal air quality standard for ozone between 2009 and 2011. The current standard is 75 parts per million measured over 8 hours.

That's good news for everyone, and great news for the 59,153 adults living with asthma.

Our friends over in the East Bay aren't breathing as easy today. While all Bay Area counties "passed," the report shows that Alameda and Contra Costa counties scored an "F" for their ozone days. Of course, we assume Chevron is to blame for much of that, right?


Still, the Bay Area is much better off than Los Angeles, which, not surprisingly, earned the title as the most polluted city in California.

Meanwhile, up in the Bay Area, we experienced a 65 percent decline in unhealthy air, and this is why, according to Jenny Bard, spokeswoman with the Lung Association:

The continuing trends in air quality improvements are due to the federal Clean Air Act and California's strong clean air leadership ratcheting down emissions through regulations to clean up dirty diesel trucks, cut tailpipe emissions from cars, and reduce pollution from ships and goods movement. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has invested in many important pollution reduction efforts, as well, including reducing diesel pollution from port trucks. Most importantly, the air district's wood burning regulation has been the single most important factor in the reduction of number of days of particle pollution in the Bay Area. Wood smoke pollution is responsible for all of the air quality violations you see in our report for the Bay Area for PM 2.5 (the size of the particle in the air - one thirtieth the size of a human hair).

Doesn't that just make you want to have a picnic for dinner and sleep under the stars in your backyard? Oh wait ... you don't have a backyard.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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